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Sports

April 8, 2008

Red Sox return home after three-country, 19-day journey

BOSTON — The cramped clubhouse looked pretty good to the Boston Red Sox.

From Tokyo to Toronto and finally to Fenway Park, players were relieved just to be home after a 19-day journey that ended with a three-game sweep by the Blue Jays.

"We're fine," Dustin Pedroia said yesterday, surrounded at his locker by cartons. "I feel great. I think that toward the end of that road trip I started getting adjusted to the time and now I'm ready for the long haul."

Jacoby Ellsbury seemed to need a little more time.

Standing amid the clutter in front of his locker, the rookie outfielder said shortly after noon, "I'm real tired. I actually just got up 20 minutes ago."

One day before their home opener against Detroit, the Red Sox were still in some strange territory after their three-nation sojourn — last place.

Not a great start, but no cause for alarm, especially since they're finally in a country where they haven't lost.

"We've only played seven games, so it'll be a lot better playing these home games," said Pedroia, one of about a half-dozen players to show up on the off day. "We'll be back in the cold weather and we'll figure out a way to win."

Boston goes into today's game with a 3-4 record. Being home, though, might not make winning easier. The highly touted Tigers have played all six of their games at home — and lost every one.

They have baseball's second-highest payroll. The Red Sox are ranked fourth. There's plenty of season left for both teams to get their money's worth.

"They're going to be raring to go. So will we," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We're talking about two teams that think they can be pretty good.

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