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Mike Cervenak

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Michael Christopher Cervenak

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Mike Cervenak hit .342/?/.463 for the University of Michigan in 1997 and followed with a .385/?/.659 year as a junior. The Oakland Athletics took him with their final pick of the 1998 amateur draft, in the 43rd round, but he did not sign. In 1999, he batted .340/.371/.559 as a senior and made the Big Ten Conference All-Conference team as a third baseman.

Undrafted, Mike signed with the Chillicothe Paints and hit .306/.339/.419 as their shortstop. The next year, Cervenak hit .357/.415/.620 for the Paints and was picked up by the New York Yankees and he batted .329/.371/.477 with their Greensboro Bats club. Despite joining late in the year, he tied for the team lead with five triples.

In 2001, he began a four-year run with the Norwich Navigators, hitting .274/.347/.430 with 37 doubles and followed with a .276/.330/.478 year with 34 doubles, 21 homers and 91 RBI. In 2003, Mike put up a .270/.329/.442 line with 20 HR and 91 RBI.

The San Francisco Giants picked up Mike and put him back on Norwich, now their farm team. He hit .337/.414/.583 with 36 doubles, 21 homers and 88 RBI and made it to AAA, where he batted .250/.267/.614 with five long balls in 10 games for the Fresno Grizzlies. He was third in the Eastern League in average and led in OBP.

The 29-year-old infielder had a big year in 2005 with Fresno, hitting .312/.369/.498 with 19 homers and 103 RBI, leading the San Francisco system, but did not get a call-up. He moved to first base during the year. In the 2005 Baseball World Cup, he batted .368/.455/.816 with 12 runs, 5 doubles, 4 home runs and 9 RBI as the USA's top hitter.

Cervenak signed with the Kia Tigers for 2006 but was a bust, only managing a .224/.258/.343 line and being let go. He returned to Fresno and hit .283/.311/.442 in 68 games there to finish the year.

Cervenak was signed to a minor league deal and invited to the Baltimore Orioles training camp as a non-roster invitee for 2007. He was assigned to the Norfolk Tides and hit .283/.316/.424 with 15 HR and 78 RBI.

Moving to the Philadelphia Phillies chain in 2008, Cervenak batted .310/.331/.439 in 90 games for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Right before the All-Star break, he was added to the Phillies' roster as an extra bat. He debuted in the bottom of the 11th inning of a 5-5 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks as a pinch-hitter for J.C. Romero. Facing Connor Robertson, Cervenak flied out to left field. Overall, he played 13 games for the Phillies, going 2 for 13 with an RBI with most of his appearances coming as a pinch-hitter. The Phillies won the World Series, that year, but Mike was not on the postseason roster.

Mike worked as a physical therapist aide for a couple of years in the off-seasons early in his career. Before he became a pro baseball player, he had planned to become a physical therapist.

Main Sources: 1998-2006 Baseball Almanacs

Also see Baltimore Sun interview with Mike

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