by Lou Bavaro

MINNEAPOLIS – Corey Koskie called Minnesota home for the first seven years of his Major League career and still owns a house in the area, making this trip into Minneapolis a little "weird" for the former Twin.

Koskie, a native of Anola, Manitoba, who signed a three-year, $17 million deal with Toronto this past offseason, said that it really hit him when the Jays' plane descended upon the Twin Cities. "When I landed on Monday and drove home from the airport it was a little bit tough, because that is what I was used to doing after road trip," Koskie said. "It's all I knew, playing for the Twins."

Koskie's ties to Minnesota were obvious during pregame warmups, as former teammates Jacque Jones and Justin Morneau stopped by to say hello. Fellow Canadians Morneau and Koskie took time to commiserate over the national team's 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic in Sunday's world hockey championship.

"What, are you going to cry on my shoulder?" Koskie asked Morneau. To which Morneau responded, "The Olympics are all that matter, right?"

The fans didn't forget about the third baseman that helped Minnesota to three straight division titles either, giving Koskie an ovation when his name was announced in the starting lineup.

"It's kind of like that old shoe," Koskie said of the familiarity of the Metrodome. "I think it's going to be real weird after the series is over."

His connection to the area even extends beyond the playing field and into a local doctor's office. Corey and his wife Shannon have a Minnesota obstetrician, who they will visit this week ahead of the birth of their third child due in June.

"We have doctors everywhere," Koskie said. "Florida for Spring Training, Toronto and Minnesota."

Despite the fond Twins memories, however, Koskie remains thrilled to be back in his native Canada playing baseball.

"I did what I did when I was in Minnesota, and that's over and done with," he said. "These guys here with the Blue Jays have made it easy to get comfortable."

Plus, now he gets to watch his beloved Canadian national hockey team as much as he wants.

Injury updates: Koskie, who has been bothered by soreness in the upper part of his ribs, was at designated hitter instead of third base for the fifth straight game.

"There's still some tenderness and we just want to knock it out," manager John Gibbons said.

Catcher Gregg Zaun, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 9 because of a concussion suffered in a collision at second base, is "doing fine" according to Gibbons. Zaun is the only Blue Jay on the disabled list and is expected to come off it as soon as he is available.

"We've been lucky on the injury front this year," Gibbons said.

Near perfection: Chad Gaudin of Triple-A Syracuse had a perfect game broken up by a Ryan Hankins' single to lead off the ninth inning on Monday. Gaudin then retired the next three batters to end the game with a one-hit, 3-0 victory.

On deck: The Blue Jays play the second game of their three-game set at Minnesota on Wednesday before finishing the six-game road trip with a day game on Thursday. Dave Bush, who has never faced the Twins, goes against Kyle Lohse.

Special to Canadian Baseball News – 19 May 2005

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