Gennett ‘super excited’ to return to Reds lineup

Barnhart expected to miss significant time with oblique strain

A red scooter covered in Reds stickers stood in the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse on Friday. It wasn’t a sign that Scooter Gennett was back.

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That announcement came earlier in the day when the Reds reinstated him from the 60-day disabled list and put him in their starting lineup for the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds hoped rookie Nick Senzel could provide a jolt for a slumping offense when he debuted in May. He did to a certain extent, but they still rank 14th out of 15 National League teams in batting average (.234) and 13th in runs scored (335).

Now it’s Gennett’s turn to deal with the savior label. Of course, he’s just happy to be playing in the big leagues for the first time in 2019 after missing 78 games with a right groin strain and making seven rehab appearances between Single-A Daytona and Triple-A Louisville. He went 2-for-26 with two doubles in the games.

“I’m super happy,” Gennett said. “I’m super excited. It’s been a while. I don’t want to say it’s been a rough two, three months, but it’s been challenging seeing my guys out there and playing and not being able to contribute.”

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Gennett suffered the injury in spring training. The Reds moved Jose Peraza from shortstop to Gennett’s spot at second base and started Jose Iglesias at shortstop. Then Derek Dietrich emerged. He leads the team with 18 home runs and has started 36 games at second base.

With Gennett returning to the lineup, manager David Bell’s challenge will be finding playing time for everyone. The lineup Friday did not include Dietrich or Peraza.

“First of all, what Derek did while Scooter was out, he contributed a lot to where we are right now,” Bell said. “It was tough losing Scooter, but we wouldn’t be in the position we are right now without what Derek has done. The great thing for Derek is he can play multiple positions. We’ve seen all year we’re able to mix and match and get guys in there and keep us sharp. He’s going to continue to get playing time.”

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The return of Gennett coincides with the loss of catcher Tucker Barnhart, who went on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. That’s an injury that has plagued the Reds in recent years. Anthony DeSclafani battled it early in 2018 and didn’t pitch until June 5.

Bell expects Barnhart to miss significant time but didn’t have an exact timetable. Barnhart suffered the injury swinging in the batting cage.

“I was just doing my normal routine to get ready for the game on Wednesday, and I felt it pretty good. I’ve taken five years to go on the (injured list). It was a pretty good run.”

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