LAKELAND, Fla. - Micah Kellogg admitted that he was a ''little scared.''
Participating in pitcher fielding practice on his second day in the Detroit Tigers minor league camp early last month, the Lakewood native took a line drive off the right thumb of his pitching hand.
''I tried shaking it off, I finished the drill, finished the (workout) and was hoping for the best,'' he said. ''I was hoping it was just a jam.''
Southwestern Central School graduate Micah Kellogg sits at his locker at the Detroit Tigers minor league complex.
But the pain was pretty intense and by the next morning his thumb was black and blue.
''Right away,'' said Kellogg, a non-drafted free agent signee, ''the trainers took me to a hospital, which is a two-minute drive from the complex, they took X-rays and the thumb turned out to be broken.''
For a very brief moment, Kellogg, who was scheduled to throw a bullpen session the next day in front of the Tigers' coaches, was fearful that his career would be derailed before it had even started.
''What do they do with a kid they had just signed and had just got injured?,'' Kellogg said. ''I don't really have any credentials yet, so I was pretty upset about that.''
Enter Jamestown natives George Carlo and Dan Lunetta.
Carlo, the Tigers' performance coach, and Lunetta, the Tigers' director of minor league operations, reassured the 22-year-old Jamestown Community College and Flagler (Fla.) College graduate that he would be back on the mound as soon as possible.
''They really made me feel better,'' Kellogg said.
''Fortunately,'' Lunetta said via text message Friday night, ''the fracture has healed well, and he is currently rehabbing in Lakeland and is doing well. He is in a throwing progression and it shouldn't be too much longer before he is throwing off the mound.''
Kellogg, a Southwestern Central School graduate, was signed by the Tigers last September after a successful tryout in Lakeland. He arrived in Florida in mid-February, calling it a ''dream come true.''
''You've got everything a baseball player could ever want (with the Tigers), especially with the history and the program,'' he said. ''Just being around baseball every day and being paid to do it, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.''
In the Tigers' weight room, he's on a first-name basis with starting pitcher Doug Fister. Kellogg also routinely works out at the same time that superstars Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera do and his locker is four stalls away from former Detroit closer Jose Valverde, who signed a minor-league contract with the club last week.
''I've been taking advantage of this (rehabilitation) time,'' Kellogg said. ''George (Carlo) told me it's a great opportunity to improve my physical conditioning. I'm sure that will show once I get back on the mound. I'm pretty excited about that.''