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Steven Lerud

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Steven James Lerud

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Catcher Steven Lerud reached the majors with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012.

Lerud hit .466 and slugged 1.204 as a high school senior, setting a Nevada state record with 21 homers. Baseball America named him as a first-team high school All-American. The Pittsburgh Pirates took him in the third round of the 2003 amateur draft and he was signed by scout Jaron Madison for $512,500. He injured his foot that year and was unable to appear.

Lerud hit .246/.297/.411 for the GCL Pirates in 2004 while splitting catching duties with Neil Walker, the #1 pick by the Bucs that year; whoever wasn't catching was at DH. Lerud also played eight games for the Williamsport Crosscutters and hit .241/.353/.241. In '05, he only hit .157/.231/.308 in 53 games; .088/.149/.238 with the Hickory Crawdads, .125/.172/.219 for Williamsport and .267/.351/.450 for the GCL Pirates. He improved the next year with a .239/.330/.402 line but struck out 132 times. He was assigned to the Honolulu Sharks for the Hawaii Winter League and hit .227/.338/.333 as one of three rotating backstops.

Lerud hit .202/.299/.310 for the 2007 Lynchburg Hillcats, leading Carolina League catchers in passed balls (25) but also in percentage of runners caught stealing (40%). In 2008, he split time between the Hillcats (.256/.344/.419 in 67 G) and the Altoona Curve (.233/.302/.363 in 47 G). He batted .240/.339/.336 with only 4 home runs in 304 AB for the 2009 Curve.

A free agent after '09, Lerud signed with the Kansas City Royals chain but was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles before the 2010 season began. He spent most of the year with the Bowie Baysox, hitting .203 with 6 homers in 49 games there. Back with the Baysox the following year, his average dropped to .193, and he became a free agent after the season.

Lerud was then signed by the Phillies and spent most of 2012 with the Reading Phillies. He hit .235 in 35 games and was called up to the majors in late August. He made his big league debut against the New York Mets on August 30th and went 1-for-4 in the game.

Sources: 2004-2006 Baseball Almanacs, Hawaii Winter League site

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