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Phils' Lerud starts behind dish, gets first hit in debut

Phils' Lerud starts behind dish, gets first hit in debut

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Phils' Lerud starts behind dish, gets first hit in debut
PHILADELPHIA -- Steven Lerud finally got his shot behind the plate.

He learned late Wednesday night that he would be making his big league debut in Thursday's series finale against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Lerud, a third-round pick of the Pirates in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, had spent his entire career in the Minor Leagues until last Friday when the Phillies placed Brian Schneider on the disabled list. He went 1-for-4 in the 3-2 victory, singling to left-center field in the fourth inning.

"It's been a long time on bus rides," Lerud said. "I took a little longer route to get here, but I think it made me stronger in the long run. It's been emotional at times. I can tell you that."

Lerud's mother Eva has been with him since he got called up, waiting to see her son play in the big leagues for the first time. For the rest of the family and friends back in Reno, Nev., they hit a sports book or sports bar to watch the game.

Lerud gave the ball from his first hit to his mother after the game.

"She was pretty excited and was trying to hold it together," he said. "I went and gave her the ball and she lost it."

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