---- — LAKELAND, Fla. — Chad Green took the mound for the Louisville Cardinals on June 15 in Omaha, Neb. knowing it was probably one of the last times he'd don the Cardinal logo.
Just 18 days later, he was in a new uniform, pitching for the Gulf Coast League Tigers after signing his deal to play for the Detroit Tigers last week.
Green, an Effingham High School alumnus, was Detroit's 11th round draft pick this year, and signed shortly after the College World Series in Omaha.
"I didn't really talk to the Tigers before the World Series," Green said Tuesday. "I talked to them right after, we kind of knew I was going to sign. It was about when I was going."
He was assigned to the GCL team in Lakeland, Fla. to play short-season rookie ball.
Switching to a Tigers hat was a pretty easy choice for the former Flaming Heart.
"It wasn't really a tough decision at all," he said. "I've had three years in college. I pitched a solid year, and it was in my interest to go and start and professional journey. It was the right year to do it, with how old I am."
He had previously been drafted in 2010 out of high school, going in the 37th round to the Toronto Blue Jays. This time, he chose to sign the deal instead of heading to Louisville to take another shot at the draft.
Green amassed a 10-4 record in 18 starts this season for Louisville, working primarily as the team's Friday starter. He threw 104.1 innings with a 2.42 ERA, striking out 74 and walking 27 as a Cardinal.
His final start was at the College World Series, where he pitched two-plus innings and walked four while allowing four runs in a 2-0 loss to Indiana.
"It was awesome, in front of 27,000 people and on national TV," Green said of Louisville's time in Omaha. "I couldn't really find the strike zone, but it was an awesome experience."
The focus is now on his professional career as a member of the Tigers' organization.
For now, he's a member of the team in Lakeland, but could also pitch for the Connecticut Tigers, another short-season rookie league. The idea is to get him acclimated to the professional lifestyle and expectations while working with a limited time on the mound.
"They've just told me I'm on an innings limit for the year, whether I do that here or somewhere else," Green said.
He hadn't thrown for the Tigers as of the time of the interview, but made his debut Wednesday against the GCL Pirates. Green took the hill in the sixth inning against the Pirates. He struck out two in the inning of work, but also allowed a solo home run in his first professional inning.
With his first outing out of the way, it'll be business as usual for Green. The innings cap wll play a part in how often and in what kind of situations Green pitches, but it'll be the start of his career in the bigs.
"I threw a lot of innings," Green said. "There's not really a rush to get me throwing. It should be fun, I'm looking forward to it."