With Pena iffy, Reds call up Barnhart, option Lutz

With Pena iffy, Reds call up Barnhart, option Lutz

CINCINNATI -- Brayan Pena's unavailability due to a tight left hamstring was just one reason the Reds optioned infielder-outfielder Donald Lutz to Triple-A Louisville before Saturday's game and recalled catcher Tucker Barnhart for the fourth time this season.

"I think the move served two purposes," manager Bryan Price said. "One, it put us in a situation where we have coverage until Brayan's OK, where we have coverage if something happened to Devin [Mesoraco] or we needed to pinch-run late in the game, we'd know we have Tucker ready to step in and do a great job. We wouldn't know that about Brayan. We certainly wouldn't want to have Brayan back there today.

"The other part is Donald needed to go play. He hadn't started a game this month and had one pinch-hit at-bat. He needs to be playing. I'm sure we'll see him back in September, if not sooner."

The switch-hitting Barnhart made a total of 12 appearances, including nine starts, during his first three stints with the Reds, hitting .152 with one home run. He last played for Cincinnati in a start on July 10 against the Cubs before being optioned to the Bats to make room for Lutz, who has hit .212 in 18 games with the Reds. He made five starts at first base, two in left field and one as a designated hitter.

Barnhart, 23, has hit .235 with one homer and 25 RBIs in 67 games with Louisville.

Mark Schmetzer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.