The dream of making the show turned into a nightmare rather quickly for Luke Barker.
Barker was one of those stories you basically only see in baseball. At 30 years old, he made his MLB debut for the Brewers this past June, appearing in three games, giving up five earned runs in four innings.
He was sent back down to Triple-A Nashville and sprained his UCL in his pitching arm in late June.
Ultimately, the decision was made for him to get Tommy John surgery. Because the MLB trade deadline just happened and the Brewers swapped star closer Josh Hader for several players in addition to acquiring reliever Matt Bush from the Rangers, they had to make moves on their 40-man roster.
One of these moves, made Tuesday night, was designating Barker for assignment. The Brewers also informed Barker that they did not have interest in retaining him for their minor-league system.
In announcing the news of his surgery on Twitter, Barker wrote, “I’ll let others decide whether a team releasing a player on surgery day is ethical. I’ll let others decide if the MLBPA allowing for injured players to be DFA’d makes them an effective union.”
“For now I’m just thankful for my family, for the friends I’ve made in the past 6 seasons, for Dr. Camp and the team at the Mayo Clinic, and for all those who have followed along,” Barker concluded. “I’ll be back next season. On to the next challenge.”
Given Barker’s age, recovery time and likelihood of being a contributor to the major league roster in the immediate term, one can understand why the Brewers made this decision while still lamenting the unfortunate timing and the general fact that professional sports are a uniquely cutthroat business.