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It's a special place and time for Rays' Floyd

CHICAGO — For DH Cliff Floyd, this trip to the Windy City is like a dream come true.

Floyd, 35, grew up here and followed the White Sox as a kid more than the Cubs, whom he played for last season.

With the homecoming of sorts, he expects about 15 friends and family at today's AL Division Series Game 3 at U.S. Cellular Field. That includes his wife, Maryanne, and their children, who flew up Saturday from Florida.

"It's awesome," Floyd said. "We're in the playoffs, I get the opportunity to come back home, see all my people. In the playoffs, up 2-0; sometimes, you have to pinch yourself. It can get better. Hopefully it does get better. But it's been a great ride for me."

PENA PLANS RETURN: 1B Carlos Pena said his left eye feels "back to normal" and he fully expects to return to the starting lineup today.

Pena left Thursday's game in the second inning with slightly blurred vision in his left eye after accidentally scratching his cornea the night before. Pena was initially in Friday's lineup but was a late scratch, saying the glare at Tropicana Field was "incredibly uncomfortable" and "too bright for me to make out shapes."

"I feel pretty good; I think everything is back to normal," he said. "I just can't wait to get back out there and join the team."

Manager Joe Maddon said he expected no further problems. "I watched him hit (Saturday) and he hit the ball very well," he said.

TICKET TALES: Registration for the chance to buy tickets to potential third and fourth home games in the AL Championship Series and World Series is being accepted at raysbaseball.com. Fans who registered for previous sales don't need to re-register.

Fans selected to buy tickets to ALCS home games 1 and 2 can do so Monday online. Remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public at 9 a.m. Tuesday on raysbaseball.com, then at regular outlets Wednesday.

MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE: Though the Rays are in a commanding position with a 2-0 lead in a best-of-five series, veteran LHP Trever Miller said it was important they remember that they "haven't done anything yet."

But Miller, who was on two Astros teams eliminated in the first round, likes what he sees.

"We're excited about the possibility of another round of baseball and another team party, at which we're going all-in again," Miller said. "Everyone's talking about it; there's a good buzz, a good vibe in this clubhouse."

SAME OLD CC: LF Carl Crawford's stolen base and RBI single Friday gave him a familiar feeling. "It felt good to be my old self," he said. "Hadn't felt like myself in a while."

Crawford, who missed about two months after surgery to repair tendon subluxation in his right middle finger, said he feels "very lucky just to be able to be on the roster, let alone contribute in a game."

"I went from one week to where my hand was sore, to the next week where it was feeling fine," he said. "Don't ask me how it happened. I'm just glad it did."

MISCELLANY: Maddon said he hadn't decided but was leaning toward starting Rocco Baldelli in RF today with Willy Aybar the DH against LHP John Danks. The other option is to put Fernando Perez in right and use Baldelli as DH. … Bench coach Dave Martinez missed Saturday's workout to attend to a family matter. … Maddon said James Shields would start a potential Game 5 on Wednesday.

Staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.

It's a special place and time for Rays' Floyd 10/04/08 [Last modified: Saturday, October 4, 2008 7:40pm]
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