Barnhart celebrates ‘Opening Day baby’ instead of ‘midseason baby'

Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart prepares to play against the Marlins on Friday, July 21, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart prepares to play against the Marlins on Friday, July 21, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Reds catcher back in the lineup after missing first five games

Tucker Barnhart fell into the same category as many Cincinnati Reds fans last weekend when he he couldn’t watch games on his phone because of Major League Baseball blackout restrictions.

Instead, Barnhart followed the game Saturday on the MLB Gameday app on his phone in the hospital in Indiana, while he waited for his wife Sierra to give birth. He even found time to Tweet while his wife napped.

“That’s my dogggggg!!!!” Barnhart wrote on Twitter when catcher Curt Casali hit a home run.

“She had gotten an epidural,” Barnhart explained Thursday before the series and homestand finale against the Chicago Cubs, “but she wasn’t in the position to start pushing yet or anything like that, so we were playing the waiting game. I had some time to kill, so I was watching the game and obviously try to keep up with everything — but be very much in on the childbirth, for sure.”

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Sierra gave birth to a baby boy, the couple’s second. Benson Jude Barnhart weighed 8 pounds, 13 ounces and measured 21 inches. He was born at 8:14 pm Saturday, one day after the Reds opened the season.

“I thought we were going to have a midseason baby and not an Opening Day baby,” Barnhart said. “Things kind of changed along with a lot of other things with the pandemic. We’re super excited. Benson is a stud. He’s chill. She sleeps most of the day. He eats. Typical newborn.”

Barnhart returned from the paternity list Tuesday and made his first start of the season Wednesday. He went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk as the Reds ended a four-game losing streak with a 12-5 victory against the Cubs.

Mike Moustakas, Nick Senzel and Nick Castellanos all hit home runs for the Reds. Sonny Gray struck out 11 and didn’t allow an earned run in 6 2/3 innings.

The bullpen struggled again. Brooks Raley gave up three runs without getting an out. Cody Reed gave up a two-run home run in the ninth.

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Barnhart didn’t consider not returning to the Reds despite the COVID-19 problems he saw hitting the Miami Marlins and the scare the Reds received the weekend he was gone with Matt Davidson testing positive and two other players, Moustakas and Senzel, getting sick but testing negative.

Barnhart’s family remained in Indiana when he returned to Cincinnati.

“I definitely wanted to stay home,” Barnhart said. “My job is here, though. I want to play ball. I’m a baseball player. It’s my job. I’m taking even more precautions now than I was.”

NOTES: Manager David Bell announced Thursday the Reds put Wade Miley on the 10-day injured list with a groin injury. Anthony DeSclafani will come off the injured list to take Miley’s place in the rotation Saturday when the Reds play in Detroit. Tyler Mahle will remain in the rotation and start Sunday.