Matt Bush (baseball)

Matt Bush

Bush with the Texas Rangers in 2016
Texas Rangers – No. 51
Born: (1986-02-08) February 8, 1986
San Diego, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 13, 2016, for the Texas Rangers
MLB statistics
(through 2016 season)
Win–loss record 7–2
Earned run average 2.48
Strikeouts 61

Matthew Brian Bush (born February 8, 1986) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He was drafted by the San Diego Padres with the first overall draft pick in the 2004 Major League Baseball draft.

Due to numerous personal and legal problems, Bush had only played as high as Double-A, two steps below the Major League level, prior to his debut on May 13, 2016. He was traded by the Padres to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009, but was released by the Blue Jays without ever playing. He then played for the Rays organization before being released in 2012 after a drunk driving incident. He pleaded no contest to charges related to that incident in December 2012, and was sentenced to 51 months in state prison. He served 39 months, and signed with the Rangers after his release from prison.

Early life

Bush attended Mission Bay High School in San Diego, California. He played shortstop, where his defense and arm strength made him a top major league prospect. He had a .450 batting average with 11 home runs and 35 runs batted in (RBIs). He also pitched, and he threw a 94 mph fastball with a solid curveball. Bush had a 5–1 win–loss record with two saves and a 0.73 earned run average (ERA).[1] Bush was considered one of the best five-tool players ever to come out of high school.

He also played soccer and ran track in high school.

Professional career

San Diego Padres organization

He was selected first overall by the San Diego Padres in the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft, originally as a shortstop. When he signed with the Padres, he received a signing bonus of $3.15 million, the second-largest signing bonus ever given to a Padres draft pick.[2] As it turned out, Bush was actually the Padres' third choice, as they wanted one of two collegiate stars, Stephen Drew or Jered Weaver. However, both were represented by Scott Boras, who was known for demanding hefty bonuses for his clients. Padres owner John Moores was unwilling to meet those demands, so he selected Bush.[3] Bush became the first shortstop drafted first overall from high school since the Seattle Mariners selected Alex Rodriguez in 1993.[1]

Bush's professional career began with his suspension before he ever took the field, for his role in a fight outside an Arizona bar.[4] The shortstop went on to hit .192 in 99 at bats between the Rookie-level Arizona League and the short-season Northwest League.

Bush during his tenure with the Fort Wayne Wizards, single-A affiliates of the San Diego Padres, in 2006

In the 2005 season, Bush hit .221 in 453 at bats for the Fort Wayne Wizards of the Class-A Midwest League. During spring training in 2006, he broke his ankle and missed half the season.

Bush struggled again in 2007, hitting for a .583 OPS as of May 28. The Padres then converted Bush to a pitcher.[5] His fastball reached a speed of 98 miles per hour (158 km/h), and he had prior knowledge of pitching from his days as a high school ace. After a promising start in rookie league, Bush tore a ligament in his pitching elbow in August 2007, ending his season. He had Tommy John surgery, sidelining him for 2008 as well.[6] The Padres, however, would place Bush on the 40-man roster after the 2008 season to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft.

Bush was designated for assignment on February 5, 2009 to make room for Cliff Floyd.[7] Shortly afterward, it was learned that Bush was allegedly intoxicated in a high school parking lot where he assaulted two freshman lacrosse players.[8]

Toronto Blue Jays organization

On February 10, 2009, Bush was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later or cash considerations.[9] The Blue Jays, well aware of his behavioral problems, put him on a "zero tolerance" policy.[10] At a party on March 30, he reportedly threw a baseball at a woman's head and banged on her car window after accusing her of drawing markings on his face at a party in Dunedin, Florida. The Blue Jays released him the next day.[11] He would be out of baseball for the entire 2009 season.

Tampa Bay Rays organization

On January 28, 2010, Bush signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. He played one injury-plagued season for the Class-A Charlotte Stone Crabs in the Florida State League before being added to the Rays' 40-man roster in November.[12] During the 2011 season, Bush played for the Rays' Double-A affiliate, the Montgomery Biscuits of the Southern League, primarily as a late reliever and occasional closer. He was promoted to the Rays' top affiliate, the Durham Bulls, in September, but never appeared during their playoff drive.[10] Bush was slated to begin the 2012 season in Durham, but the Rays placed Bush on the restricted list after a drunken Bush ran over a 72-year-old man during spring training[13] and was released shortly after the 2012 season ended.

Texas Rangers

On December 18, 2015, the Texas Rangers signed Bush to a minor league contract, two months after his release from prison.[14][15] He was signed after tryouts at a Golden Corral parking lot in Jacksonville, Florida (the only place Bush could work out; due to his post-release restrictions he could only travel to and from his Golden Corral job).

Bush pitching for the Frisco RoughRiders, double-A affiliates of the Texas Rangers, in 2016

The Rangers have experience dealing with players struggling with substance abuse issues (notably Josh Hamilton, also a former #1 overall pick). Bush is on a zero-tolerance policy; he cannot drink or drive, among other things. His father, Danny, accompanies him to games and lives with him, paying out of his own pocket. On April 7, 2016, Bush threw his first professional pitch in almost five years for the Frisco RoughRiders of the Double-A Texas League, as he earned a save in one inning, while allowing one hit.

On May 13, 2016, Bush was called up to the major leagues by the Rangers.[16] He worked the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays that night, retiring the heart of the Jays lineup (Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion) by inducing a double-play off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion after hitting Jose Bautista with a pitch. On May 15, Bush earned his first major league win in a 7–6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, a game more noted for the scuffle between Rougned Odor and Jose Bautista that would wind up in a bench-clearing brawl.[17]

Criminality and Incarceration

A few weeks after the Padres drafted him in 2004, Bush was arrested on suspicion of felony assault, misdemeanor trespass, disorderly conduct, and underage drinking, after he allegedly fought with security trying to escort him out of a bar.[18]

In early 2009, Bush was allegedly involved in a drunken assault at a San Diego high school, which was caught on camera. According to witnesses, a drunken Bush beat up a high school lacrosse player with a golf club while screaming, "I'm Matt fucking Bush!", which was recorded on videotape. This led the Padres to designate Bush for assignment following the team's signing of Floyd and then trade him to the Blue Jays.[3][8] Only a month later, he assaulted and berated a woman at a party in Florida, and was released by the Blue Jays for violating a "zero tolerance" agreement.[11]

Mugshot from the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.

On March 22, 2012, Bush was arrested and charged with two counts of DUI with property damage, one count of DUI with serious bodily injury, one count of leaving the scene of an accident with an injury, one count of driving with a suspended license, and 2 counts of leaving the scene of an accident with damage to property. In the incident, Bush hit 72-year-old motorcyclist Tony Tufano on the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Route 41) northbound in Port Charlotte, Florida, running over his head as he fled the scene in a Dodge Durango belonging to teammate Brandon Guyer. According to a witness, Tufano survived the incident because he was wearing a helmet.[19] Bush was arrested in North Port, three miles down the road from the accident. He was on the road after getting kicked out of a nearby strip club for trying to climb on the stage. When he was arrested, Bush had a blood alcohol content of .18, more than double the legal limit in Florida.[13] Bush spent the 2012 season housed at the Charlotte County Jail on $440,000 bail (reduced from an initial $1.015 million bond), and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment (via closed-circuit TV from the Charlotte County Jail) on May 21. Bush remains a suspect in two other hit and run accidents further north on the Tamiami Trail in Venice that occurred earlier that day.[20] The following Sunday, Rays general manager Andrew Friedman announced that Bush would never play for the Rays organization again.[21] The Rays placed Bush on the restricted list for the 2012 season, meaning that he was no longer on the 40-man roster, nor did he accumulate service time.[22] He was officially released on October 6.

On December 18, Bush accepted a plea bargain and pleaded no contest to one count of DUI with great bodily injury. He was sentenced to 51 months in prison. As this was Bush's third DUI conviction in 10 years, he was ineligible to drive legally in Florida for 10 years after his release from prison. In the process, Bush turned down a deal that had less prison time (3 years), but with 7 years probation owing to past alcoholism issues.[23][24] The Tufanos filed a $5 million civil suit against Bush, but settled in 2013 for a reported $200,000.[25]

Bush was housed at the Mayo Correctional Institution in Mayo, Florida, as of January 2015.[26] He was released from prison on October 30, 2015.[27]


  1. 1 2 "Bush selected by Padres with top pick in baseball draft". USA Today. Associated Press. June 7, 2004. Archived from the original on December 18, 2012.
  2. Baseball America, Top 10 prospects 2009: LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY,
  3. 1 2 Lee Jenkins (February 12, 2011). "Former No.1 Pick Bush Bush ends Padres tenure as epic bust". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  4. Center, Bill."Bush's suspension lifted", The San Diego Union-Tribune, July 21, 2004. Accessed August 6, 2007.
  5. "Matt Bush Stats News Pictures Bio". Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  6. Brock, Corey. "Notes: Bush needs elbow surgery",, August 18, 2007. Accessed June 5, 2008.
  7. Stark, Jayson (February 5, 2009). "Source: Floyd, Padres agree to deal". ESPN. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  8. 1 2 Brent Schrotenboer (February 6, 2009). "Padres cut ties with Matt Bush". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
  9. "Blue Jays acquire Bush". Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  10. 1 2 Gaines, Cork. Troubled MLB Top Pick Matt Bush, Now One Step From Big Leagues. Business Insider, September 7, 2011.
  11. 1 2 Schroenboer, Brent. Matt Bush in trouble again. San Diego Union-Tribune, April 3, 2009.
  12. "Rays add Bush to their 40-man roster". Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  13. 1 2 Jeff Passan (March 26, 2012). "Long, maddening fall for former No. 1 Matt Bush". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  14. "Rangers sign former No. 1 pick Matt Bush after 34 months in prison". Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  15. Stevenson, Stefan (December 19, 2015). "Rangers sign former No. 1 pick Matt Bush after three-year prison term". Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
  16. Taylor, Jean-Jacques (May 13, 2016). "Rangers adding Matt Bush to 25-man roster". Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  17. "Matt Bush earns first career win, Rangers beat Blue Jays 7–6". Tampa Bay Times. May 15, 2016. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  18. "Bush faces several charges following arrest". ESPN. Associated Press. June 22, 2004. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  19. Smith, Joe. Rays reliever Matt Bush charged with DUI, hit and run. Tampa Bay Times, March 24, 2012.
  20. Herald-Tribune staff (April 10, 2012). "Matt Bush suspected in 2 hit-and-runs prior to DUI arrest". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  21. Smith, Joe. Executive VP Andrew Friedman: Matt Bush won't play for Tampa Bay Rays again. Tampa Bay Times, March 25, 2012.
  22. "Rays' Matt Bush pleads not guilty in March crash". TBO. May 21, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  23. Smith, Joe. Former Rays pitcher Matt Bush finalizes plea deal. Tampa Bay Times, December 19, 2012.
  24. Mooney, Roger. Ex-Rays prospect Matt Bush gets 51 months in DUI plea. The Tampa Tribune, December 19, 2012.
  25. Smith, Joe. Civil case settled for ex-Ray RHP Matt Bush and Brandon Guyer. Tampa Bay Times, May 15, 2013.
  26. "Mayo Correctional Institution -- Fl Dept. of Corrections". Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  27. Smith, Joe. Former No. 1 pick Matt Bush released from prison, Tampa Bay Times, October 31, 2015.
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