LOS ANGELES (AP) -The Boston Red Sox landed in Los Angeles seven hours before they flew out of Tokyo - give or take a day.
Confused?
So was manager Terry Francona. Before the second regular-season game against Oakland in Japan, the manager who is more comfortable with baselines than international datelines was baffled.
``So we throw our first pitch at 7:07 (p.m.) and we land at 6 (p.m.). I'm still trying to figure that out,'' he said. ``I have no chance.''
Boston's charter flight across the Pacific Ocean left at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Tokyo time, after that game and landed at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Los Angeles time.
At least one person had no problem with that.
A customs employee shook John Henry's hand while the Red Sox owner waited in line after leaving the airplane and said, ``I love what you did with the team. It's much appreciated. I'll be there (at Fenway Park) in June.''
Boston, which won its second World Series championship in four years last season, and Oakland participated in four games at Tokyo Dome. Each played an exhibition against the Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers with the major league teams each going 2-0.
Then the Red Sox and Athletics faced each other in the first two games of the regular season. Boston won 6-5 in 10 innings on Wednesday night and Oakland won 5-1 on Thursday night.
Players didn't have a lot of time for sightseeing, although Kevin Youkilis did visit a shrine where he made a wish to have a good game. He had two hits that night against Hanshin.
Manny Ramirez played well against Oakland with a pair of two-run doubles and a solo homer. He also ate well.
``I can't see any sushi any more,'' the slugger said. ``I've been eating sushi every day.''
Other players spent time at arranged activities.
Pitchers Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin and Bryan Corey signed autographs and posed for pictures at a U.S. Army base. Wakefield, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz attended a reception at the U.S. Embassy.
And Hideki Okajima, who pitched for Yomiuri for 11 years before joining Boston last year, spent about an hour at a clinic with youngsters
Players said they enjoyed a different culture but the travel and jet lag were difficult. Most are creatures of routine and the journey disrupted that.
Daisuke Matsuzaka was the big attraction. He spent eight seasons as a star with the Seibu Lions. Then the Red Sox spent $103.1 million to add him to their rotation last season.
As he stood in line at the security checkpoint before boarding the plane, only about five videocameras were there. Many more television stations had sent crews to record his late-night arrival a week earlier.
Now the Red Sox must cope with another oddity - playing exhibition games after their regular season began.
Boston has three games at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then flies north to Oakland to wrap up the series that began in Tokyo with two more games Tuesday and Wednesday.
``We're a little bit in uncharted waters because we haven't done this before,'' Francona said.
He was consistently cordial and diplomatic in his remarks and praised the people of Japan for the warmth with which they greeted the Red Sox.
``Everybody's been fantastic,'' Francona said. ``They've gone out of their way. They've been polite, but we want to win every game we can and making this trip will never be an advantage to anybody. It's our job to make it not be a disadvantage.''
Just give him his familiar cramped office at Fenway Park and he'll be happy. Or a road trip that starts and ends in the same time zone.
One reporter asked if Francona thought the major leagues would ever add teams in Japan.
``Well,'' he said, ``I'm confident they wouldn't be in our division.''

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