July 12, 2012 - Southern League (SL) - Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Blue Wahoos catcher Tucker Barnhart and relief pitcher Curtis Partch were both honored by the Reds as Minor League Players of the Month. Barnhart was tabbed as the Minor League Hitter of the Month, while Partch was recognized as Pitcher of the Month for June.
In his 11 relief outings in June, Partch accumulated a 1-0 record, along with four saves, and did not allow a run in his 18.1 shutout innings for the Blue Wahoos. The right-hander in addition struck out 17 and walked just four in those 11 appearances, with opposing hitters compiling just a .200 average versus the 25-year-old.
Since being converted to a reliever, the California native has recorded a 4-1 mark and 2.79 ERA (9 ER in 29.0 IP) in 22 appearances, and is perfect in his five save opportunities for the Blue Wahoos. At one point from May 29 to July 7, Partch fired 21.2 consecutive scoreless frames to set a new team record.
"I feel honored the Reds picked me for pitcher of the month and would like to thank Tom Brown and Jim Riggleman for helping me in the transition from a starting pitcher to a reliever," said Partch.
Barnhart in 19 contests for High-A Bakersfield in June posted a .382 average (26-68), tallying eight runs, four doubles, a triple, three homers, 12 RBI and nine walks for the Blaze. The Indiana native led all Reds Minor Leaguers with his .382 mark and was rewarded by the club with a promotion to the Double-A level on July 4.
"Being named player of the month is a big honor," Barnhart said. "It's the first time I've had that happen in my career. I worked my butt off all off-season, and it's good to see that it's paid off."
In 64 games combined with Bakersfield and Pensacola, the switch-hitting catcher owns a .272 average with four homers and 23 RBI. The 21-year-old was selected by the Reds in the 10th round of the 2009 draft out of Brownsburg High School in Brownsburg, Ind. and was invited to Major League Spring Training camp prior to this year.
"Both are very deserving of this honor," said Blue Wahoos manager Jim Riggleman. "It's great to have these two talented players with us here in Pensacola. In the limited time we have seen Tucker, it's obvious why he was so deserving of this award. He's a hard-working guy behind the plate and is constantly striving to get better in every facet of the game. Curtis has made huge strides this season and has pitched himself into a position to be one of our reliable go-to guys in the back of the bullpen. This is a reflection of his dedication and the improvements he has made throughout the season."
Earlier this season, Pensacola closer Donnie Joseph was honored by the Reds as the Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May after leading the organization and tying for third with eight saves. The left-hander tallied a 2-1 record and 1.06 ERA in 13 appearances for the Blue Wahoos. Joseph was promoted to Triple-A Louisville on June 9 and has compiled a 2-0 record and 2.03 ERA, notching saves in all four of his opportunities for the Bats.
Pensacola is currently in Chattanooga for a three-game series with the Lookouts, the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team returns home for a four-game set with the Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, on Saturday July 14, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. Tickets for the series are still available and can be purchased online at BlueWahoos.com or at the Hill Kelly Dodge Pickup Window at the front of the bayfront stadium.
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The team's inaugural 2012 season is underway but it's not too late to book 2012 group outings. Mini plans and single-game tickets are still available by calling (850) 934-8444 or online. Follow Pensacola Baseball at bluewahoos.com, facebook.com/PensacolaBlueWahoos, and twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall.