Luis Barrera was confused when he was pulled from Monday night’s Triple-A game between the Las Vegas Aviators and the Reno Aces at Greater Nevada Field.
There was a very good reason for his removal. The Athletics had just called him up to the big leagues for the first time.
“It surprised me,” Barrera said on Tuesday via an interpreter. “I was playing in the game and didn’t really know what was going on, but then after, they told me.”
Tears fell as he told his family.
“It was a big surprise for me and my family,” Barrera said. “I didn’t really know what was going on and they didn’t know what was going on either, since they pulled me out of the game, but once I told them, they started crying and they understood and I started crying as well.”
Barrera, an international signee with the A’s back in 2012, had been waiting for this moment for a long time. When Oakland didn’t re-sign Robbie Grossman this past offseason, there was a thought that Barrera could get a chance this season because he's a consistent lefty bat with strong defensive in the outfield.
A’s manager Bob Melvin just isn’t sure where, and when Barrera will play.
“I don’t know yet, but we’ll try to get him in there and start at some point, but this is a big day for him,” Melvin said.
Melvin also said that despite giving this special news to minor leaguers after all these years, it’s still a big deal.
“It’s not lost on me, how big a day this is for these guys,” Melvin said. "It’s a pretty big day for him. Not just being here, but putting on a uniform and taking batting practice at a big-league ballpark. Happen to be playing the Astros who obviously are right behind us in the standings and just a lot of things that are going to make it a special day for him.”
Barrera was batting .349/.429/.558 with one double, two homers and RBI in 11 games with the Aviators this season.
“I was very proud when Bob told me,” Barrera said. “Made me feel like my work was paying off and that made me feel very proud and thanks be to God that came quickly.
“I’ve been in the Athletics organization for a very long time and thanks to God I stuck with it. I’ve been working very hard and it’s obviously a hard road, but it’s been great and I’m here and ready to go.”