PHILADELPHIA -- Around 2 p.m. ET on Friday, Steven Lerud walked into Double-A Reading manager Dusty Wathan's office and was told he was getting sent to Class A Clearwater. After going along with the joke for a bit, Wathan started laughing and told his catcher the real news -- Lerud had been promoted to the big leagues.
The real news came as a surprise for Lerud, who had never before made it past Triple-A. But when Brian Schneider went on the disabled list on Friday afternoon, the Phillies needed a catcher to back up Erik Kratz until Carlos Ruiz returns.
A non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Lerud said he never really envisioned an opportunity like this coming this year.
"It's a funny game," he said, smiling through an entire three-minute interview. "I've seen it happen before to other guys. Luckily, I was right place, right time, I guess. I put my dues in. I'm excited to be here."
Lerud, 27, hit .235 in 35 games for Reading, but recently assumed a backup role to Tommy Joseph, who was acquired from the Giants' organization in the July 31 Hunter Pence trade. In 2010, he played nine games with Triple-A Norfolk in the Orioles organization, but spent most of his time at Double-A Bowie. He also played in Bowie in 2011 before joining the Phillies' organization at Reading.
"I worked hard down there just to kind of stay ready, just to play there," he said. "And you never know. That's what everybody always says. I hung in there and got this opportunity.
So what was it like when he walked into the Phillies' clubhouse for the first time on Friday?
"Pretty surreal," he said. "I still don't know if it's really set in for me yet. I still have to pinch myself a little bit to make sure that it's real. This was something I can't describe. Obviously, it's what you play for, and I'm pretty excited to be here."