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Jody Gerut

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Joseph Diego Gerut

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Jody Gerut, who placed fourth in the 2003 Rookie of the Year Award voting, returned to the majors in 2008 with the San Diego Padres after a two-year absence from the playing field. In 2010 he is playing with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Gerut hit .361 for the US in the 1995 World Junior Championship to help them to victory. He was the only outfielder on the US team who did not make the All-Tournament Team as Eric Valent and Brent Abernathy were chosen and OF-P Brad Wilkerson was MVP.

Gerut attended Stanford University in 1997 and 1998. In 1998, he hit .335/.440/.665, a year in which Stanford had nine future major leaguers on the team. He was drafted in the 2nd round in the 1998 amateur draft by the Colorado Rockies.

After two seasons in the Colorado minor league organization, hitting in the .280's, he moved to the Cleveland Indians minor league organization where he continued to hit .281 in 65 games for Akron. He then moved up to Buffalo, where he hit .322 in 55 games. In 2003, he appeared in only 17 games in Buffalo before coming up to the majors. He was later to go back to Buffalo for 12 games in 2005, hitting .438/.518/.729.

Jody Gerut's 2003 season in the majors involved hitting .279 with 22 home runs and 75 RBI in 127 games. He became the first Indians rookie since Joe Charboneau in 1980 to lead his team in home runs and RBI and finished 4th in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting. At that point he appeared destined to be a fixture in the Indians' outfield for years to come, but health issues would set him off-track.

He had knee surgery before the 2004 season, and did not play after August 10 of 2005 due to more injury issues. In 2004, he slipped to .252 with 11 home runs in 134 games. In 2005, he spent time with three major league teams - Cleveland, the Chicago Cubs, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, although he was able to appear in only 59 major league games and 12 minor league games due to injury.

In 2006, he wanted to have more surgery although the Pirates disagreed with that assessment. He was placed on the restricted list (which is reserved for players who fail to show up with their team) and filed a grievance in return. The dispute was settled, but Pittsburgh released Gerut in spring training of 2007, as he had not recovered as well as they had hoped. For the second consecutive year, he missed the entire season.

Gerut returned to action in 2008 as a member of the San Diego Padres organization. He began the year with the AAA Portland Beavers, for whom he hit .308/.382/.570 in 27 games. With the Padres offense struggling to put runs on the board, Gerut returned to the majors in early May to serve as a back-up outfielder. He proceeded to win the team's starting center field job, hitting .296 with 15 doubles and 14 homers over the rest of the season.

On April 13, 2009, Jody hit the first home run at Citi Field in New York. He was the first batter of the game and drove a Mike Pelfrey fastball into the right field stands as the Padres spoiled the Mets' home opener with a 6-5 win. He was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Tony Gwynn, Jr. later in the season. He hit a combined .230 in 122 games, mainly as a back-up and defensive replacement, as he only collected 274 at-bats in spite of his high number of games played.

On May 8, 2010, he hit for the cycle for the Brewers in a 17-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, his career was almost done at that point. He only played a handful more games, posting a .197 batting average in 32 games with 2 homers and 8 RBI and playing his last game on May 22nd. He then missed time with a heel injury. He had a good rehabilitation stint with the AZL Brewers hitting .347 in 14 games, but the Brewers were not prepared to bring him back to the major league team, and he asked for and received his release instead. He signed with the San Diego Padres on August 20th, hit .307 in 14 games for AAA Portland, but did not receive a September call-up to San Diego. After the season, he signed as a free agent with the Seattle Mariners but retired shortly into spring training in 2011. He finished his career with a .262 average in 574 games over 6 seasons, with 59 homers and 229 RBI.

The Stanford-educated Gerut was not the typical ballplayer in that he regularly read The Economist while in the majors, as well as biographies of historical political figures. He took a personal interest in his finances and the whole issue of investment. After his retirement, he studied to obtain an investment adviser's license from the Securities and Exchange Commission, and focused on the issue of how to reduce the astoundingly high personal bankruptcy rate that affects professional athletes in the few years that follow their retirement. He became a player agent for the Wasserman Media Group, specializing in providing investment advice to current and former players to ensure their sports earnings do not disappear into a financial black hole.

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