Chattahoochee Valley Community College catcher JT Thomas has been here before.
Thomas got some unexpectedly bad news Monday when he was told he had a broken left thumb. It was the same thumb Thomas broke when he was 12 years old. And it happened in much the same way as Thomas was trying to block a pitch
in the dirt both times.
Thomas, a right-hander, will certainly miss the Pirates' season-opener on Friday. How much longer after that will be decided at a later date.
"(Doctor) said 4 to 6 weeks at the most," Thomas said. "But it is in a spot when I am catching, if I tape it up good enough, I can possibly play in 2 to 4 weeks, but 4 to 6 weeks before it is fully healed."
It is a blow for the Pirates, who open the season in Panama City, Fla., on Friday against Tallahassee Community College at 3 p.m.
Coach Adam Thomas -- no relation -- calls Thomas the best catcher he has had in his 15-year coaching career at CVCC, which advanced to the Junior College World Series for the second straight season in 2015.
As a freshman last season, Thomas batted .317 with four doubles and 17 RBIs. He threw out 15 of 34 potential base-stealers. He made just four errors and allowed one passed ball in 43 games.
But for Adam Thomas, it goes way past the numbers with his catcher.
The coach has enough trust in his catcher that he will ask him how he wants to work that day.
"I know he is going to do whatever is necessary to be ready to play," the coach said.
JT Thomas said it is nice to hear his coach say that.
"It is always a great feeling when someone tells you you are the best at something, but I don't really think about that when I go out to play," Thomas said. "I play the game hard and play the way I know how. I love working out. I am always in the cages and working on my game. I think it is just all the hard work that got him to say that."
It was likely Thomas' lack of height -- he is 5-foot-9 -- that kept major college and professional teams from giving him much of a look while he was at Etowah High in Woodstock, Ga. This despite the fact that he hit .387 with 46 hits -- 13 doubles -- in 40 games.
Thomas received only one other offer beside CVCC's. That came from Georgia Perimeter College, a junior college that has since merged with Georgia State.
"I was about to not play college baseball," Thomas said. "I was kind of discouraged because no one wants to go to a junior college out of high school. Everyone wants to go to the big D-I. Everyone wants to go to their dream school. (I had someone tell me) 'yea, junior college is smaller than what you would like, but you will get a chance to mature as a player,' and that is what has happened with me. I have excelled while I have been here. I have matured as a player and as a person, and that is what has helped me the most. Coming to Chatt Valley is one of the best decisions I have ever made, no doubt about it."
Thomas has already signed to continue his career at Mercer. But Adam Thomas said the major leagues could be calling.
"I don't know what round," Thomas said. "But I think he will get drafted."
Kevin Price, 706-320-4493, Follow Kevin on Twitter @lesports