For the second time in less than a year, I've returned to pitch for a team for which I had previously pitched. I had a feeling I would be coming back here to Baltimore, though.

When the Orioles traded me to the Cubs last year, Andy MacPhail, our general manager, told me to not be surprised if they brought me back during the offseason. Sometimes you hear that when you get traded and that is exactly what actually happened in this instance.

During the winter, the O's were one of the first teams that called to express interest in me. That was nice. At the same time, it was kind of interesting to play alongside the guys for whom I had been traded just a few months earlier.

This team is a lot younger than last year's club. There are a lot of new faces here, a lot of new pitchers.

My job here is to pitch, but, as one of the few veterans on the club, I have some added responsibility. They want me to work with the young guys and to show them how to prepare for a start. That's about having a routine. I need to be accessible and to be outgoing in talking to the guys about pitching and whatever it is they need to focus on.

With a young staff, I have a teaching role that I haven't really had in the past. When it comes to that, you need to feel each guy out. Some tend to ask a lot of questions, and others don't. Just like anyone else, they can be shy or afraid that the question they ask might be considered dumb. But you just read them. Sometimes you have to be more aggressive, but you also have to be careful not to force something that someone might not be ready to try. Some guys like to talk more.

I came to Baltimore last year when Kris Benson got hurt, and I was eventually traded to the Cubs. I had played with the Cubs for six seasons from 1993-99, so it was fun to return there for a while and shoot for the postseason. Chicago is a great town, too.

In my first run with the Cubs, I was the young pitcher on a veteran staff. I learned a lot in my early years in Chicago, and that helped set the tone for my career. Now I try to relate that experience to my discussions with the younger pitchers here in Baltimore.

Steve Trachsel, a former All-Star and two-time 16-game winner, has made 415 pitching appearances with the Orioles (twice), Cubs (twice), Mets, Blue Jays and Devil Rays. All but one of those appearances has been as a starter.