INDIANAPOLIS — Brownsburg’s Tucker Barnhart could’ve been drafted by any of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams back in 2009. He was taken by the Cincinnati Reds, which has worked out great for the 23-year-old.
Cincinnati is just a two-hour drive from Brownsburg, as is Louisville, where Barnhart currently plays for the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate. After minor-league stops as far away as California, Montana and Florida, it’s a welcomed change.
“I don’t think there’s a better spot for me,” Barnhart said of being with the Reds, and at the moment, Louisville. “My family and my girlfriend come down, and it’s nice on off days that I can come hang out, get a home-cooked meal and see everybody.”
Barnhart played just 20 minutes from home this week, as Louisville came in for a three-game set with the Indianapolis Indians. It was a chance for old friends and longtime fans of Barnhart to see him live, some for the first time since his high school days.
“It’s a very cool opportunity and very special to be able to play in front of friends and family,” Barnhart said. “I’ve seen a bunch of familiar faces.”
This season has been a whirlwind for Barnhart, who started on the Reds’ Opening Day roster due to an oblique injury to catcher Brayan Peña. In one of the more remarkable debuts imaginable, Barnhart faced fellow Brownsburg native and St. Louis pitcher Lance Lynn in his first MLB at-bat on April 3.
“The start of this year on Opening Day was a dream come true,” Barnhart said. “Facing Lance in my debut was really cool and something I’ll never forget.”
Barnhart batted .250 in three games for the Reds before heading to Louisville. His average for the Bats has taken a tumble as of late, as a 1 for 17 combined mark in five straight games against Indianapolis put him at .152.