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After first hit in Majors, Barnhart goes for seconds

NEW YORK -- Reds rookie catcher Tucker Barnhart notched his first big league hit with a third-inning single over second baseman Daniel Murphy that went into right field during Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Mets. Barnhart didn't wait long for hit No. 2, when he blooped a single over Murphy into short right field in the fifth.

While the ball from hit No. 2 wasn't saved, Barnhart does have possession of the first one.

"It's nice to get it out of the way and take a deep breath and just worry about getting more and getting more wins," Barnhart said.

Barnhart, who made the team after Devin Mesoraco went on the disabled list at the end of Spring Training, has made two starts and appeared in a third game as a defensive replacement. He was a battery mate with Homer Bailey on Wednesday and caught ace Johnny Cueto on Saturday. While Bailey struggled some, Bailey allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings.

"I'm getting to the point where I'm feeling pretty good," Barnhart said. "I thought that Johnny and I worked well together [Saturday]. Homer and I did the other day also. It's good to be out there getting my feet wet and getting to the point where it's all about playing baseball. It's not worrying about the nerves or anything like that."

There's a good chance Barnhart will be sent down to Triple-A Louisville this week, as Mesoraco is expected to rejoin the club in St. Louis on Monday. But manager Bryan Price has very positive reviews about the rookie's early performances.

"He's been terrific," Price said. "You don't set up high expectations for anyone that comes up, initially, as an offensive player -- especially as a catcher. You hope they defend well and work with the pitching staff. He's done a remarkable job with pitch selection, working with the starting pitchers and the bullpen.

"I think he's going to be an outstanding player, I really do. The two hits were a bonus. We didn't bring up here to hit .350. We brought him up here to catch and hold down the fort until Devin is ready and he has certainly done that. I have no apprehension to catch him and put him in the lineup."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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