Reds split time Tyler Stephenson and Tucker Barnhart

Jun 28, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) is tagged out at home by Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart (16) during the first inning at Great American Ball Park.

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell has shared the same message this season with catcher Tucker Barnhart and catcher Tyler Stephenson.

As the Reds platoon their starting catcher depending on the opposing pitcher, Bell has told both Barnhart and Stephenson that it’s not for a lack of confidence in either of them hitting same-handed pitchers. He had to divide playing time somehow between the 2020 Gold Glove winner and one of the best rookie hitters in MLB, and a platoon split made the most sense.

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“They’ve both had great seasons,” Bell said. “It’s worked out. I know they both want to play every day and they both deserve to play a lot, if not every day. We’ll continue to go in that direction though.”

Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart (16) visits starting pitcher Wade Miley (22) at the mound in the third inning of the MLB National League game between the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. The Cardinals took the first game of the seven inning double header games, 5-4.

For the first time in Stephenson’s MLB career, he started three consecutive games behind the plate this week. With the Reds facing three consecutive left-handers, Stephenson got the opportunity for the most consistent stretch of playing time of his rookie season.

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Barnhart was back behind the plate on Sunday when the Reds faced right-handed starter Casey Mize of the Detroit Tigers.

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