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Milwaukee Brewers select Luke Barker, option Ethan Small, transfer Justin Topa to 60-day injured list

Brewers add a fresh arm ahead of second game of doubleheader

Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day Photo by Caitlin O’Hara/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Brewers have added a fresh arm to their bullpen before the second game of Monday’s doubleheader, selecting Luke Barker from Triple-A Nashville and optioning Ethan Small.

The promotion has been a long time coming for Barker, who has quietly been effective for several seasons in the minor leagues. Milwaukee signed him out of independent ball in 2016, and he has posted a 2.36 ERA in 190 games (255.1 innings), working his way up from A to AAA. That strong bottom-line run prevention is backed up by a 3.11 FIP, 27.4% strikeout rate, and 4.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The Brewers also transferred right-hander Justin Topa to the 60-day injured list, so Barker is effectively taking his spot on the 40-man roster. This does not change the timeline of Topa’s return from elbow surgery. The 31-year-old is aiming for a return later in the second half of the season.

Despite Brandon Woodruff’s placement on the injured list earlier today, Small will not be taking his place in the rotation. After an inconsistent major-league debut, he is returning to AAA. Small’s minor-league teammates Josh Lindblom and Jason Alexander are candidates for promotions to make starts in Woodruff’s absence.