Matt Bush is well known as the former top pick in Major League Baseball’s draft that was suspended, arrested (multiple times), traded, and released, but never made it to the big leagues. Most now remember Bush as one of the biggest busts in baseball draft history, and for famously yelling “I’m Matt (explicative) Bush!” while assaulting a high school lacrosse player.
But don’t look now. Seven years after being drafted by the San Diego Padres, and two years after being released by the Toronto Blue Jays for violating a “zero tolerance” agreement, Bush is now just one step away from the big leagues with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Bush, now a pitcher, has been promoted to the Rays triple-A ballclub, and will serve as a hard-throwing reliever for the Durham Bulls in the International League playoffs that begin tonight. This season at double-A, Bush had a 4.83 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 50.1 innings, with a fastball that has been clocked at 100 mph.
Drafted as a shortstop, Bush was given a shot as a pitcher by the Padres after hitting just .219 in five seasons in which he never rose above single-A. But his stint as a pitcher was short-lived as he threw out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery after just seven appearances.
Bush was then given a shot by the Rays despite missing all of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, and after kicking his alcoholic ways. In two years with the Rays, Bush has risen from low-A to triple-A and has struck out 113 batters in just 71.2 innings.
If Bush does finally make it to the big leagues, he will join David Price as former top picks on the Rays roster. Bush could also give the Rays promotional opportunities, such as Matt Bush ear plugs to the first 10,000 kids.
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