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Homecoming for Hinske in Toronto

Homecoming for Hinske in Toronto

TORONTO -- Playing in the Rogers Centre is something that Eric Hinske is very familiar with, as the Rays utility man was a member of the Blue Jays organization for the first five years of his career.

In Tuesday's game, Hinske was booed every time he stepped to the plate, even before he hit a monster home run off the Windows restaurant that gave the Rays what would be the winning run.

After the game, Rays manager Joe Maddon was confused about why Hinske was being booed.

"What's going on with the booing," said Maddon, with a huge smile. "One of the nicest guys in the history of the United States and he gets booed in Canada. What's going on?"

Maddon also had a message for the Toronto fans.

"Don't boo Eric Hinske," he said. "He's a great guy. I thought, what did he do? Maybe skip town with a couple parking tickets? I don't know. And he gets booed. He's a wonderful young man. One of the finest."

After the game, Hinske said he had an idea as to why the boos were directed at him.

"I never really put up the numbers that I did in my first year, so I think that's why they do it," said Hinske, referring to his Rookie of the Year campaign of 2002, when he when he hit .279 with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs. "I never said anything in the paper or made anybody mad. [Toronto] traded me, so I don't know why they boo me."

"The only thing that makes them quiet is if you get a hit," Hinske continued with a smile. "So I just keep trying to get hits."

Hinske, who added that he still loves visiting Toronto, also had a double in Tuesday's win. He will try to provide support for Rays starter Matt Garza on Wednesday in the second game of the series.

Pitching matchup
TB: RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 6.16 ERA)
In his only career start against the Jays, Garza allowed seven runs on eight hits over 2 2/3 innings.

TOR: RHP Shaun Marcum (3-2, 2.70 ERA)
Lifetime against Tampa Bay, Marcum is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA over 8 1/3 innings.

Tidbits
Despite the fact that Rays starter Scott Kazmir struggled with his mechanics during his first start of the season on Sunday, Maddon is not worried. "He's going to be fine, he just needs a little more time," Maddon said of Kazmir. "I was concerned about him health-wise, and he seems to be fine." Kazmir missed the first month of the season with a left elbow injury. ... Maddon said on Tuesday that recovering utility man Ben Zobrist could possibly be back with the team in time for their upcoming series against the Yankees. "By the end of the week, I don't think it would be out of the question," said Maddon. ... After his save on Tuesday, Rays closer Troy Percival is now 7-for-7 in save opportunities this season. ... In four games against Toronto this year, Hinkse is hitting .467 (7-for-15) with two doubles, two homers and six RBIs.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• ION

On radio
• WHNZ 1250, WGES 680 (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Rays (Edwin Jackson, 2-3, 4.98) at Blue Jays (Jesse Litsch, 4-1, 4.32), 7:07 p.m. ET
• Friday: Rays (James Shields, 3-2, 3.80) vs. Angels (Jon Garland, 4-3, 5.08), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Rays (Scott Kazmir, 0-1, 6.75) vs. Angels (Joe Saunders, 6-0, 2.61), 7:10 p.m. ET

David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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