Q&a -- Kurt Birkins

March 07, 2007|By JEFF ZREBIEC

After opening the 2006 season in Triple-A Ottawa's starting rotation, Kurt Birkins was called up May 2 and became a valuable member of the Orioles' beleaguered bullpen. Birkins, a 26-year-old California native who the Orioles drafted in the 33rd round in 2000, was used as a left-handed relief specialist, going 5-2 with a 4.94 ERA. He is competing for the final open spot in the bullpen.

What was your reaction this offseason when you were hearing about all the Orioles' bullpen additions? -- Last year, we had the second-highest ERA, so you knew the front office was going to make some acquisitions and try to upgrade a little bit. So it wasn't much of a surprise. But there are still a couple of spots open. I am just coming in every day trying to battle and earn one of those spots.

What was the most memorable moment of your rookie season? -- It probably would be the first strikeout of [Texas Rangers slugger Mark] Teixeira. I threw four straight curveballs and struck him out. He hit a home run off me in college, when I was at UCLA and he was at Georgia Tech. I am pretty sure it was his first collegiate home run. It was good to get a little revenge.

You are known for having the most organized locker in the clubhouse, with each shirt spread out a certain distance from the other. Why is that important? -- I am a creature of habit. I have to have things in order because I don't like scrounging around looking for stuff. Last year in Baltimore, it wasn't that bad. But in the minor leagues, guys would walk in, everything was out of order, stuff was all around, sometimes the guys would tape up stuff just to mess with me.

What is prominent on your iPod? -- Right now, Akon. That's probably the thing I listen to most right now. But I try to mix it up a lot. I have everything from Akon to Journey. It's a big mix.

Who is your dream date? -- Carrie Underwood. No doubt about it. It ruined my Christmas when I saw her on the field with Tony Romo. I was like, "Ah, man. I can't compete with the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys."

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