"It was crazy when it all went down, having to fly to the West Coast [Oakland] and back [to Chicago] and then the break," Thornton said. "Getting home didn't feel like I was at home and once we got back over here, it started feeling like home to me. Now the red is pretty much the norm for me."
Thornton, 36, missed 16 games with Boston because of an oblique strain on his right side. He has thrown two scoreless innings since returning and has a 1.86 ERA over 12 games with the Red Sox. Despite having his career batteries recharged by moving to a playoff team, the White Sox all-time holds leader and relief appearances leader admits leaving Chicago after 7 1/2 years was tough at first.
"My daughter was born in Chicago. I got married when I was in a Chicago. A lot of big things in my life happened," said Thornton, whose wife, Emily, is expecting their second child. "In '08, we made the playoffs and I saw a lot of great individual accomplishments: [Mark] Buehrle's perfect game and no-hitter, [Jim] Thome's 500th homer, Game 163, all the neat things I saw over there. A lot of special times for me.
"Hard to leave but at the same time, I'm at that point in my career where winning is all that matters. The season is always a grind no matter if you're winning or losing, and when you're losing like we were with Chicago, it becomes even more of a grind. So you go to a winning atmosphere and a winning team and they're expected to win and have a great chance to make the playoffs, that does refresh you a little bit and the grind becomes a little easier."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.