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."
Relegated to bench, Polanco focused on health
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said earlier this week that while Placido Polanco can play, Kevin Frandsen will get the majority of playing time at third base the rest of the season.
In other words, Polanco, who has been an everyday player the majority of his 15-year career, is a bench guy.
Polanco said Thursday that Manuel called him into his office to tell him about his decision.
"If I can't play, I can't play," said Polanco, who has battled a back problem and other injuries this season. "He's the manager. Right now, my hands are tied. I can't really say much. I played the other day [Aug. 22] and I hurt it again. What am I going to say? Put me in? I told him if I was healthy, then this would be another conversation. But I'm not healthy."
The Phillies have a $5.5 million option or a $1 million buyout on Polanco's contract next season. The Phillies will take the buyout. That leaves Polanco's future in baseball uncertain. He said he does not know what is going to happen, but he would like to play if he is healthy.
That is a big if.
"I have a lot of energy, I love the game and this is what I've been doing my entire life," said Polanco, who estimates he has received about 10 cortisone injections over the course of his career. "But I have to be healthy. If I'm not healthy, they can offer me $100 million and I'm not going to go out there."
Illness cleared up, Hamels rejoins Phillies
PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels rejoined the Phillies on Thursday after missing Wednesday's scheduled start because of a stomach illness.
Turns out Hamels had a bad salad.
But Hamels said he felt fine Thursday morning and is scheduled to make his next start Sunday evening against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
Nate Schierholtz was set to play in the fourth game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday night. Through three rehab games, Schierholtz, recovering from a broken big toe on his right foot, is 2-for-13 with an RBI and a run for the IronPigs.
Jimmy Rollins entered Thursday needing just nine hits to reach 2,000 for his career. He would join Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco as current Phillies to record 2,000 career hits.
Bill Harper, a longtime Phillies scout, was selected as the recipient of the 2012 Dallas Green Award, the club announced on Thursday. Harper, 86, has been with the organization for 42 years and was key in the Phillies signing of Ryne Sandberg in 1978.
"He's the scout that ignored the fact that all other scouts thought I would choose to play college football," said Sandberg, now the manager of the Phillies' Triple-A Lehigh Valley affiliate. "His insistence, as it turned out, helped me change my mind. And that influence helped me to live out my dream of becoming a professional athlete."
Harper will be presented with the award before the Phillies' game against the Braves on Sept. 23.
"Dallas, he taught me so much, not only the way to scout, but so much more," Harper said. "I valued our relationship; he was a supremely loyal friend and a great person. This is a tremendous honor to receive an award bearing his name."
Infielder Hector Luna was outrighted off the Phillies' 40-man roster. He elected free agency. The Phillies have 39 players on their 40-man roster.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.