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04/21/11 2:34 PM ET

Guthrie setting an eco-friendly example

O's pitcher believes strongly in recycling, protecting environment

BALTIMORE -- A few years ago, Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie was at U.S. Cellular Field when something on the scoreboard caught his eye.

The White Sox were encouraging their fans to participate in the stadium's recycling program and Guthrie -- one of the most outgoing and inquisitive personalities in Baltimore's clubhouse -- wondered if the Orioles did the same thing at Camden Yards.

They do now -- thanks to Guthrie, who helped spearhead the O's recycling program, making the push to put recycling bins in the clubhouse and all over the stadium. The initiative -- which includes a public-service announcement at the stadium featuring Guthrie and teammate Brian Matusz -- encourages fans to use the proper receptacles and to try to eliminate waste.

Guthrie, an avid bike rider who rents a full hybrid Toyota Prius during Spring Training, is committed to living an eco-friendly lifestyle and hopes to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment through his actions.

"To be grateful for what you have, part of that is do you express that gratitude?" Guthrie said. "I think not wasting is a good way to show that you are aware of what you've been blessed with -- you're thankful for it."

Born and raised in Oregon, Guthrie was taught early on about forest preservation and how important it is to turn off the lights and water when not they are in use. His earliest memories involve bike riding, whether it was to go to a friend's house or to the candy store, and it was a tradition he kept up throughout his days at Stanford and in the Minor Leagues. But it wasn't until his two-year Mormon mission in Spain (1999-2000) that Guthrie also got in the habit of continuously recycling, taking advantage of the three bins set up at his apartment complex.

"People pay attention, even if it's subconsciously," said Guthrie, who occasionally rummages through trash cans to toss a few wayward bottles in their proper receptacles. "They see the recycle bin and it's not a tremendous amount of work; it just takes recognizing what you are doing and making the mental adjustment. The more times someone sees it, the more likely they are do it themselves."

"It is contagious," David O'Hagan said of Guthrie's earth-friendly ways. O'Hagan, who attended Stanford with Guthrie, is part of CAA (Creative Artists Agency), which has represented the right-hander since December 2008.

"The way [Guthrie] goes about his environmental push is very similar to the way he goes about everything," O'Hagan added. "He does it in a very thorough and responsible way, and whenever he feels like he can help out."

Last spring, for example, Guthrie was approached by a fan at the team hotel who was interested in buying a Prius. After sensing the fan was serious, the right-hander didn't miss a beat.

"I said, 'I know the gentleman down at the Toyota dealer, why don't we go down there and test drive one?" Guthrie recalled. "We went down together; I drove him in my Prius."

The fan ended up buying the car back in Baltimore.

"If someone expresses an interest in something that I have interest in, all bets are off -- I'll do whatever you want to do," Guthrie said.

"I understand that I'm not going to impact very many people, but for those who pay attention and care, I will always push the things I believe in. And this is one of those things."

New to the social media world, Guthrie's Twitter page describes him as a "happily married, bicycle-riding, shoe-collecting, world-traveling, Earth-conscious, pitcher in The SHOW." While he won't divulge exact details for his Earth Day plans, Guthrie does intend to pay homage to the holiday during the O's-Yankees home game Friday.

"Being a professional athlete gives me the extra opportunity to be an example in something that you believe," he said.

Added O'Hagan: "I don't necessarily know if that's his intention, but he sets a great example that we all would like to emulate or practice ourselves."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.