Bryan Price: Reds have ‘good foundation to do some really good things’

Bryan Price understands that the Reds haven’t exactly been competitive during his first four seasons as the team’s manger.

The folks above his pay grade, such as president and chief executive officer Bob Castellini and president of baseball operations and general manager Dick Williams, understand that it’s mostly not his fault – that injuries and rebuilding have left him with less than a full deck with which to play. That’s why the team exercised its option to bring him back for the 2018 season.

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“It’s a good thing for all of us because we’d like to see things through to the other side,” Price said on Monday before the first game of a brief, three-game series and home stand against the Milwaukee Brewers. “The staff has worked hard here. The players have stayed together. The clubhouse is a good place. The young guys are turning the corner in the rotation. We’ve got a good foundation to do some really good things here.

“Everyone understands where we’re going and some of the challenges we faced with injuries, particularly with the starting rotation. We are where we should be with what we had to work with, getting the young starters here and acclimated. In this business, a lot of people don’t get this opportunity. I’m really grateful that they’re sticking with me to see this thing through.”

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At the same time, Price understands that the 266-357 career won-lost record he lugged into Monday’s game doesn’t exactly inspire enough faith to give him more rope.

“You should get what you earned,” he said. “Since I’ve been the manager here we haven’t been real competitive. That shouldn’t put me on sound footing as the manager. What should is that from 2017 to 2018 we make significant improvements or they’re going to have to look at the direction of the club. One thing we do is we play hard. I don’t feel like I’m getting questioned a ton about managerial decisions, bullpen usage, lineup issues, etc. The last thing I’m going to worry about is the contract, because All-Star break 2015, the baseball community had me out of here – but I’m still here, and that’s really a credit to our ownership and front office to understand what we’re doing and what’s ahead of us. You get what you earn here. Until we show signs of great improvement, I’m in exactly the position I should be in.”

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Proud papa: Tucker Barnhart was sitting at his cubicle in the home clubhouse at Great American Ball Park, happily accepting congratulatory handshakes and fist bumps from his Cincinnati Reds teammates.

Barnhart was back with the team on Monday, four days after his wife, Sierra, gave birth to the couple’s first child, a son they named Tatum Elliott.

“Eight pounds, seven ounces, 21-1/2 inches,” the Reds catcher volunteered proudly, calling up a photo of the newborn on his cellphone. “Everybody’s healthy.”

Tatum was third son delivered by a Reds’ catcher’s wife in less than a month, joining Devin Mesoraco’s and Stuart Turner’s boys.

“I was talking to (catching coach) Mike Stefanski before I left and he said we all need to get together with our babies and get a group picture,” Barnhart said. “All catchers, all boys, born within a month of each other – this might never have happened before.”

Settling in: Rookie infielder Zach Vincej was just starting to catch his breath on Monday.

Vincej was promoted from Triple-A Louisville on Friday and became the 15th player to make his major league debut this season when he pinch-hit against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” said the 26-year-old San Diego native said, picked by the Reds in the 37th round of the 2012 June draft.

Vincej, a minor league Gold Glove winner last season while playing for Double-A Pensacola, hit .270 while playing 106 games at shortstop and three at third base with Triple-A Louisville this season. That was after spending time with the Reds in spring training as a non-roster player.

“That helped make the transition easier,” Vincej said. “I knew all the players. Now it’s just a matter of getting past the jitter of being on the big league stage. Everybody’s been great.”

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