"I pretty much put a lot more of myself into this spring," he said. "I pretty much grinded it out. I gave everything I had to make this team, and it was very deflating to get sent down."
As deflating as it was, it's just about as rewarding now. It's not the circumstance under which he'd want to make a team, but Kenny Rogers' trip to the disabled list gives Seay a chance to show what he can do in a left-handed specialist's role.
He's still young at 28, but Seay said he approached this as a do-or-die type of spring. He badly wanted to make this team out of camp after flying up from Florida to watch the first two games of last year's World Series in the seats as a fan. After reporting to camp 12 pounds lighter than last year, his arm felt better than it had at any point since 2000. He had allowed one run over 8 2/3 spring innings to emerge as the lone remaining left-hander in contention for the final spot in the bullpen before a two-run inning on Sunday against the Yankees.
By then, he already had a feeling he wasn't going to make the club. That didn't lessen the disappointment when manager Jim Leyland called him into his office on Monday.
"It's tough," he said. "It's very deflating. It almost feels like you get your heart ripped out. You almost don't know what to do. I'm sure half these guys in this room have been through the same situation I have, but for me, I'm not getting any younger. It's about time to stick at this level, and I feel I need to do that."
Seay reported to Minor League camp and tried to put the best face on it. Then, on Wednesday, he received a shocking call from player development director Glenn Ezell that he was going to the big leagues -- or, in this case, going back across the street.
"It's been a real tough three days for me," he said about the emotional roller coaster.
Now that he's back, Seay doesn't want it to be a brief pit stop. With one fewer lefty in the rotation, the Tigers need a left-handed specialist, and he's the one. He'll have his chance.
"I think Bobby will be a very usable pitcher for us in that bullpen," Leyland said. "He had a good enough spring to make the club. In fact, I thought he had a better spring than he did last year, when he made the club. Bobby Seay will be fine. That's not an issue."
Deal or no deal: After a published report that suggested a new contract could be close for Carlos Guillen, the Tigers shortstop was tentative about it on Thursday morning.
Guillen, who is eligible for free agency after this season and could be one of the more sought-after shortstops on the market, repeated his preference to have a deal in place before the regular season starts. Yet when asked if he'd consider a new deal after that, he left that possibility open.
"Maybe," he said, "because I'd like to stay here. I want to be part of this team for a long time. But I don't want a distraction, too, you know?"
If something happened during the season, Guillen said he'd rather it be quick.
"If I hear something, it's got to be, 'Here -- one offer,'" he said.
That's how his last deal came about. Guillen was a few months away from free agency in June 2004 when he received an offer from the Tigers. He asked agent Peter Greenberg to get something done, and they came together with a three-year contract.
"I don't want it to be weeks," Guillen said. "It's not good for me or for the team. We've got a pretty good team, and I think they don't want it to be a distraction, too."
Greenberg was scheduled to arrive in Lakeland on Thursday, Guillen said, but that doesn't necessarily mean that a deal is close. Guillen said that Greenberg was already expected to pay a visit. He has been in Florida this spring to tend to other clients with contract matters, including Twins ace Johan Santana.
"I talked to him before everything started," Guillen said of Greenberg. "I told him, 'Just call me when you get something good.'"
He has not yet received that call, Guillen indicated. Asked if he thinks a deal could be done in the few days before the Tigers' regular-season opener on April 2, he said he didn't know. He did, however, indicate some flexibility on the length of a contract.
"I'd like to stay four or five years -- I could stay longer," said Guillen. "I like this team. I like playing for Jim Leyland. I feel very comfortable with him after last year. I know we've got a pretty good team, good pitching."
Injury updates: Results of the MRI exam on Vance Wilson's aching right shoulder showed no structural damage, and the Tigers are treating it as tendinitis. Wilson was cleared to work out, and he went 0-for-3 as a designated hitter on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Tigers had to deal with another potential pitching injury when Fernando Rodney experienced back stiffness. He gave up a run in the seventh inning and was out after that.
Edward Campusano returned to camp on Thursday after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery Tuesday in Birmingham, Ala. He said he plans on being back throwing next spring.
Despite suspicions from the Tigers that he tried to pitch through elbow pain for most of the spring, Campusano said he didn't feel it until his next-to-last outing. He realized his fastball wasn't as hard as it was last year, but he didn't feel anything unusual.
"When I came here, I was fine," he said. "When I threw against the Phillies two days before [my last game], I felt it."
Coming up: The Tigers will close out their home Spring Training schedule at Joker Marchant Stadium on Friday with a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Yankees.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.