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Trembley wants playoff-type effort

With the Orioles' final 16 games against teams with winning records, including a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins, manager Dave Trembley held a brief meeting last night, before the scheduled game against the Twins was rained out, to remind his team of the importance of staying focused and maintaining intensity during the season's stretch run.

"I think there is an obligation when you are playing contending teams to bring your game up to that level and play with some energy," Trembley said. "I think that's why these guys are who they are: They like to compete."

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The Orioles have lost 15 of 18 and are headed to their first last-place finish in 20 years, but that's no reason to coast to the end, Trembley said. Some teams fall into that trap, but Trembley said he wants to make sure his team won't.

"Don't just keep looking at your watch or looking at the calendar and X-ing out days. I don't like that approach," Trembley said.

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So he addressed the entire team - rookies and veterans.

"I've got a lot of new guys in that room. I've got guys who it's their first time in the big leagues," Trembley said. "I have to remind them about how we're going to finish this thing out, what the expectations are, how we're going to do it.

"I've been very appreciative and very respectful of them and to them, but coming down these last two and a half weeks of the season, we're going to be respectful. I think that needs to be brought out."

O's to play two

The Orioles had to wait a day before trying to spoil the Twins' postseason aspirations.

After a 100-minute rain delay, last night's game was postponed until 5:05 tonight as the first game of a traditional doubleheader.

Last night's scheduled starters, Daniel Cabrera (8-9, 5.26 ERA) and Minnesota's Scott Baker (8-4, 3.66), will pitch in the first game. Garrett Olson (9-7, 6.43) and Glen Perkins (12-4, 4.11) will pitch the nightcap.

It's the Orioles' fourth postponement this season.

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Fans holding tickets for tonight's regularly scheduled single game may use them for the doubleheader. Fans holding tickets from last night's game may exchange them for tonight or other remaining games, depending on availability. Those living more than 75 miles away from Camden Yards may request a refund from the Orioles via mail.

Guthrie decision looms

Trembley said he believes the Orioles will soon have to make a decision as to whether they'll shut down starter Jeremy Guthrie (fatigued shoulder), who hasn't pitched since Aug. 29.

"We're getting to that point. It's getting close," Trembley said. "He's got to throw bullpens. He's got to get on the mound.

"[Head athletic trainer Richie Bancells] told me today that Guthrie said he feels much better. But I have no barometer on good, better, best.

"To me, you've got to get out and pitch. You've got to get out on the mound and throw."

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Guthrie, however, said he is holding out hope he'll be able to take the mound again in 2008.

"I don't look at it as pushing anything," he said. "It is a minor discomfort that I really feel like at any time I could wake up and it could be completely gone."

If that happens, Guthrie said he would need three pain-free days to test and rest his arm before pitching in a game. So he doesn't want to be officially shut down and then a few days later feel good enough to throw.

"Once you get shut down, it's like a decision that you don't get a second chance. It's just over," he said. "And then you feel like you are not part of the team anymore."

Around the horn

Reliever Jim Johnson (right shoulder) left the club to go home to Sarasota, Fla., for the winter. ... Adam Loewen had one more hitting session with Terry Crowley before leaving for the instructional league. ... Second baseman Brian Roberts will hold his annual fundraiser, "Brian's Baseball Bash," from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. tomorrow at the ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor. Proceeds go to the University of Maryland Children's Hospital.

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Wins the Orioles need to eclipse last year's total of 69 victories


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