Bush is a real baseball rat. He plays with a bit of a swagger and flair. Matt was also a solid quarterback at San Diego's Mission Bay High School, but his coach saw how much of a future Bush had for baseball and told him he needed to concentrate on the diamond.
“Let’s face it,” Bush said, “football is the big sport in high school. I had a lot of fun playing football, really enjoyed it. But I can make something of myself in baseball. I work hard, but baseball comes naturally.” (Baseball America-2/04)
Matt pitched in high school, displaying a 90-95 mph fastball and a fine curveball.
Before Bush played his senior high school baseball season, he worked out, lifting weights and exercising alongside Brewers prospect Tony Gwynn Jr. Bush signed to play college ball at San Diego State for Gwynn's famous father.
In 2004, his senior year at Mission Bay High School, Matt hit .450 with 11 doubles, 11 homers and 35 RBI. The Padres signed him the same day they drafted him as the #1 pick of the 2004 draft. He was signed by scouts Tim McWilliam and Bill Gayton.
The Padres could have had Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver or Stephen Drew, but backed off because of budget concerns.
Matt likes to go fishing in his spare time.
June 20, 2004: Bush was suspended by the Padres (until July 20) after he had been arrested by police in Peoria, Arizona around 12:30 a.m.
Matt was in Peoria to play for the Padres' rookie-level affiliate. Bush was only 18, but had found his way into a bar called McDuffy's. A bouncer escorted him out of the bar, and Bush was at first charged with assault, trespass, and disorderly conduct charges; the assault charge was later dropped. That charge stemmed from Bush biting bouncer Eric Edwon. Bush claimed he bit him on the back of the left arm because he was being choked.
"I don't consider him a partier, but I do consider him a follower," Misson Bay High School coach Dennis Pugh told Student Sports.com. "He has never been suspended at school, and never had any incident problems at school."
Bush pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges (disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and under-age possession or consumption of alcohol), paid a $1,000 fine, and was put on unsupervised probation for a year.
Before 2005 spring training, Baseball America rated Matt as 6th-best prospect in the Padres organization. By the spring of 2006 he dropped to #13. In the spring of 2007, he was down to #19. And in the spring of 2008, they dropped Bush all the way down to #30 in the San Diego farm system.
After being out of the book for three years, during which he moved to the mound, Bush resurface in the spring of 2012 as the 19th-best prospect in the Rays' organization.
Bush needs to improve his dedication to baseball if he is to get the most out of his considerable talent.
June 2007: The Padres moved Bush to the pitcher's mound. He worked with AZL pitching coach Dave Rajsich, one of the most-respected instructors in baseball, a good teacher with an even temper.
February 4, 2009: The Padres released Bush shortly after El Cajon police were looking into allegations that he took part in a drunken assault involving boys lacrosse players on the Granite Hills High campus.
A witness, who requested his name not be used, said Bush was drunk, threw a golf club into the dirt, picked up and threw a freshman lacrosse player and hit another one. Bush also yelled "I'm Matt (expletive) Bush," and"(expletive) East County," before driving over a curb in his Mercedes when leaving the campus, according to the witness.
April 2009: An incident at a party in Dunedin, Florida, where Bush was at the Jays' minor league training camp, got him released from the organization. At the party, on March 31, someone had drawn markings on his face, according to a complaint made with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. He blamed a 23-year-old female, and she accused him of throwing a baseball past her head and banging on her car window to scare her, according to the sheriff's office. She said he appeared intoxicated and acted belligerently. Bush was not arrested.
On July 8, 2009, Bush entered a not guilty plea to drunken driving, resisting arrest and two counts of vandalism stemming from his June 28 arrest. Bush's attorney showed proof that he had entered a residential rehabilitation program for alcohol abuse – a requirement for his continued release on bond by San Diego Superior Court Judge Evan Kirvin.
This time police received a call about 1:40 p.m. June 28 about a man throwing objects at passing cars while standing outside his vehicle on Camino de la Reina near the San Diego Union-Tribune building in Mission Valley. Police said he had hit at least one car with his belt buckle.
After getting into his vehicle, he backed into that same car, causing damage, police said. He was arrested in a parking structure of nearby Fashion Valley Mall, taken to jail and booked on assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest, driving on a suspended license, vandalism and driving under the influence.
But on July 10, 2009, Bush reached a deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to four counts of misdemeanor simple battery stemming from his alleged assault against Granite Hills High lacrosse players Feb. 4.
He also has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor reckless driving involving alcohol, vandalism and resisting arrest stemming from his June 28 arrest on a drunken driving charge in Mission Valley. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped the DUI charge and the charge of driving on a suspended license.
He was scheduled to be sentenced July 21. His sentence was for 120 days residential rehab, 240 hours community service, three years probation, and a fine of $4,400 in a San Diego court for drunken driving, vandalism, and resisting arrest.
In 2010, the Rays signed Bush and sent him to the Winning Inning Baseball Academy in Clearwater, Florida -- the same place where Josh Hamilton cleaned up his life.
March 22, 2012: Bush was arrested after being involved in an accident with a 72-year old motorcyclist, the Florida Highway Patrol said. He was charged with fleeing the scene of an accident with serious injuries, driving with a suspended license, DUI with serious injuries and DUI with property damage.
Bush, according to the Highway Patrol, hit a motorcyclist from behind at about 5:00 p.m. on U.S. 41 in Charlotte County. Bush then drove off, the agency's report said. Bail was set at over $1 million. Bush was using teammate Brandon Guyer's car.
"Literally, the tire on the SUV ran over the driver's head," a witness told WBBH-TV in Fort Myers. "Without the helmet, the gentleman would have been dead instantly." The Rays released Bush shortly after the incident.
In December 2012, Bush agreed to a plea bargain in his DUI hit-and-run case that includes a prison sentence of at least three years on top of time already served, his father told the Tampa Bay Times.
"He's taking it pretty good," Daniel Bush said, according to the newspaper. "He's not crying or sulking. He's preparing for it. Everybody in our family is backing him up."
October 30, 2015: Bush was released from prison.
December 18, 2015: It's been four years since Matt Bush has played a professional baseball game. However, he can't avoid the spotlight. Bush signed a Minor League contract with the Rangers -- though he wasn't extended an invite to their big league camp in the spring -- and it wound up being another major story.
Bush is receiving the opportunity to return to pro ball after 51 months of incarceration following a 2011 accident in which he was driving under the influence and fled the scene after hitting a 72-year-old man who was riding a motorcycle. The incident occurred while Bush was in Spring Training with the Rays.
Earlier in Bush's career, the San Diego Padres suspended him following a fight outside a Peoria, Ariz., bar during the instructional league, shortly after he was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2004 draft.
And even Bush's selection as the top pick was controversial instead of being cause for celebration. Bush wasn't even a projected first-rounder choice that year. Then-Padres general manager Kevin Towers and scouting director Bill Gayton were debating between pitcher Jered Weaver and shortstop Stephen Drew. Former Padres owner John Moores, however, wasn't going to pay the price agent Scott Boras wanted for either player. Instead, on the advice of a friend who had seen Bush play for Mission Bay High School in San Diego, Moores decided Bush would be the No. 1 pick.
Bush wound up playing six seasons in the Minors, making the conversion from shortstop to pitcher in 2007, his fourth pro season. He finally moved above the Class A level in 2011, before the legal troubles sidelined him.
Now, he gets another chance, this time with the Rangers.
Bush, however, does not return as a conquering hero. He still has to show that he deserves one last shot. He is going to have to prove himself in the Minor League Spring Training camp -- on the field and off. He said he has been sober since that wreck in Port Charlotte, Fla. He said he wants to prove he's not a bust. Bush is still blessed with a fastball that was clocked in the 95 mph range during recent bullpen sessions, Most of all he has to prove he turned his back on alcohol.
He will have a support group in his bid to come back. When he checks into Spring Training on Feb. 1 he will be accompanied by his father, Danny, who will spend the summer, as well, with his son. The Rangers are giving Bush a third chance. It's up to him to make good at it. (T Ringolsby - MLB.com - December 20, 2015)
In Spring Training 2016, Bush was hoping a new opportunity with the Rangers would allow him the chance that he once squandered after being the first overall pick by the Padres in the 2004 draft.
"I view this as a large blessing," Bush said. "I am very grateful and very honored to have this chance. I really want to make the most of it. It feels really good to come to the park every day, wear the Rangers gear and mingle with other baseball players.
"He lives at a hotel next to the Rangers' complex with his father, Danny. He has a strong relationship with Roy Silver, the Rangers' player development assistant who was instrumental in Josh Hamilton's recovery. Bush attends multiple Alcoholics Anonymous meetings during the week and walks to the complex in the morning. "Little things - it doesn't take much to make me happy," Bush said. "Every day I walk back to the hotel, it makes me happy. I feel free. I love the view and the setting, the baseball field, the atmosphere.
"He understands he is an alcoholic, and that it was alcohol that ruined his life. "I'd like for people to know my past," Bush said. "There have been a lot of mistakes and a lot of troubles with alcohol. I understand I am an alcoholic, and I can not drink alcohol. But also the past is the past. I was young and immature and didn't have a handle on everyday life. Today I am more mature and able to refrain from alcohol, [I can] stay sober, and lead a healthy life."
"I can remember first being arrested in 2012, and it kind of sunk in what I just threw away," Bush said. "When it sunk in what I was facing, what my family was going through, what my mom and dad were going through, and realizing I did not want to spend a day in jail, I had to stay there for a few years, then it really set in, what it was going to be like. "I still had it in the back of my head, before that all happened, I could have a few drinks and not ruin my life. Now I really understand, I'm not hiding from myself. I know if I'm drinking I am in trouble."
On Dec. 18, 2012, Bush accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced to 51 months in prison. It was his third DUI conviction, and he was sent to the Hamilton Correctional Institute in Jasper, Florida. "It was tough," Bush said. "I wasn't so sure what happened, but I just wanted to be a productive member of society, have a job, and support a family. Hopefully I can do that through baseball. I wanted another shot so I kept myself in shape. I stayed positive.
"He found support from fellow inmates in prison who encouraged him not to give up on his dream. "There were a lot of guys excited to hear about what I used to do as a baseball player," Bush said. "They encouraged me that I might have another shot. That I made a mistake, but hopefully I could do what I wanted to do with my life. "There are quite a few people in prison who really are supporting and encouraging. Of course, there are people there who are probably going to keep coming back. But, for the most part there were a lot of people who were serious about turning their life around."
Bush was released from prison on Oct. 30, 2015. During his incarceration, he still maintained his relationship with Silver. After he got out, Bush expressed a desire to try baseball again. The Rangers, with Silver's recommendation, watched him throw, saw there was still something there and signed him to a Minor League contract.
"From a personal standpoint, I have had people in my life who never gave up on me," Silver said. "When I first got involved with him, it was more about 'How are you doing with your life? What can I help you with?' It had nothing to do with playing. I was going to be in Matt's life with or without this opportunity. We started talking, and we started playing catch and decided to give it another shot.
"I am going to be connected with him as a mentor/student/friend no matter what happens. It just happens that he is physically able to do this at his age. He has one goal above all and it doesn't involve alcohol."
"To me, drinking alcohol is a matter of life and death or prison," Bush said. "I want to live." (Sullivan - MLB.com - 2/24/16)
Less than seven months after he was released from a Florida prison, Matt was in the Major Leagues.
"It's a miracle I'm here," the 30-year-old Bush said. "It's such a dream come true."
The Rangers called up Bush from Double-A Frisco on May 13, 2016. He had served his time in prison for a third DUI and vehicle collision that almost killed a 72-year-old motorcyclist. He has taken the necessary steps to deal with his alcoholism and get his life under control.
He was part of a Major League bullpen. He made his Major League debut in the ninth inning in the Rangers' 5-0 loss to the Blue Jays. Bush had to face sluggers Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. He struck out Donaldson and retired the other two on popups before leaving to a nice ovation.
"I was just focused on being myself and continue what I was doing in Double-A," Bush said. "It was pretty surreal having those guys in there. It was just a boost of confidence, to be able to have a good inning like that is awesome." (Sullivan - MLB.com - 5/13/16)
March 2017: Bush was the subject of a documentary being shown on HBO's Real Sports.
Nearly anyone with San Diego roots has an affection for Mexican fare. Matt is no different. So, when Bush hit his hometown on May 7, 2017, he ducked into a Mexican restaurant. The morning of May 8 with his brother? They visited Old Town State Historic Park where Bush's fork dove into more spicy treats.
"I'm a San Diego native, so I love my taco shops,'' Bush said.
"San Diego does bring back some memories. It's a beautiful place to play and it's my hometown. I wish things would have worked out to play here, but they didn't. I'm not worried about the past; I'm looking forward to getting out there and pitching.''
Bush had a crowd of reporters waiting for him. He shrugged when seeing the gathering, showing his focus was elsewhere. "Now I've taken the right steps and done the things I need to do: continue to stay sober and continue to help the ballclub win and be a great teammate,'' he said. "I'm just trying to enjoy the moment because I know it is going to pass quickly. Just try and soak it in and enjoy it, but at the same time I'm looking forward to getting out there and pitching my absolute best.''
That Bush was able to pursue his Major League dream with the Rangers wasn't in the cards, but maybe it was when he was given No. 51. Bush grew up cheering for the Padres' Nos. 19 and 51.
"It was absolutely amazing that it was assigned to me,'' Bush said. "Tony Gwynn  and Trevor Hoffman  are my favorite players of all time. To be able to wear No. 51 and think of Hoffman and be in the spot that I am now is a dream come true. It's awesome.'' (Paris - mlb.com - 5/8/17)
March 13, 2021: Bush is battling for a spot on the Rangers’ Opening Day roster this Spring Training, but this challenge is far from the toughest thing the right-hander has faced in his life. Though he was selected as an infielder with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 MLB Draft, he shifted to pitcher in 2007, while in the Padres' farm system. But then, Bush had a wave of off-the-field issues through his time in the Minors from 2009-12, including multiple alcohol-related arrests before he was sentenced to 51 months in prison following his involvement in a near-deadly crash with a motorcyclist.
Bush served 39 months of his sentence and was released on Oct. 30, 2015. He was signed by the Rangers on Dec. 18, 2015. Bush didn’t make his Major League debut until May 13, 2016, when he then became a vital part of the Rangers' bullpen. He pitched 61 2/3 innings with a 2.48 ERA in his debut season.
He's been bouncing between the Minors and the big league club since. Bush underwent Tommy John surgery on Sept. 19, 2018, and he only pitched in Double-A Frisco the following season before COVID-19 shut down the Minor League season in '20.
“I've had plenty of obstacles to overcome in my life,” Bush said. “I'm just really excited to be here. I feel like God put me in a place with this organization. And with all the help, and them treating me like family from day one. I've just been trying to follow through with the commitment the Rangers have given me.”
Bush views this season and this spring as another sort of comeback as he works his way back to the Rangers' bullpen at 35 years old. With Jonathan Hernández shut down with a UCL injury, Bush has a real shot to get innings out of the back end of the bullpen with the big league club.
Bush pitched in his first Cactus League game against Cleveland, tossing a scoreless inning with one strikeout. He said that moment was filled with emotions for him, so much so that it felt like his first strikeout in the Majors again.
“He said he actually felt like a pitcher [on Tuesday],” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He said in the past, he was just trying to throw the ball as hard as he could. Today, he actually felt like a pitcher. He was trying to use his cutter. It was really good to see. He was really excited coming out of it. To throw the ball well, throw strikes, stuff like good is a real positive force.”
Woodward emphasized how important it is to have a guy like Bush in camp as the Rangers focus on the organizational rebuild. Bush is a guy with experience both in and outside of baseball. Bush shares those experiences with the younger pitchers on a daily basis, whether it be about the ups and downs of the game or his struggles in other facets of life. Bush likes being able to help the young guys in the bullpen.
“Obviously there's a lot of relatability there,” Woodward said. “It means a lot to guys when he shares those stories because of that leadership. This game and life has a way of making it difficult sometimes. For him to share those stories with his younger players, it means a lot.”
Bush also said he was tossing an easy 95 mph during his bullpen session. He’s persevered this long, through prison and injuries, and everything in between, because he believes he belongs in Major League Baseball.
“I've always had the talent, the drive, the desire,” Bush said. “I love this game. I have a never quit mentality and I feel like I have so much to offer. When you make people proud, especially family and friends, I really enjoy it. I really thrive off of it, and I love the game of baseball. I want to stay as long as I possibly can.” (K Landry - MLB.com - March 13, 2021)
June 6, 2004: Bush signed with the Padres, as the #1 overall pick in the 2004 draft, out of Mission Bay High School in San Diego. He inked his contract for $3.15 million the day before the draft. Matt became the second San Diego native to be selected by the Padres with their No. 1 draft pick. In 1979, the Padres selected catcher Bob Geren 24th overall out of local Clairemont High School. (Jim Callis-Baseball America-6/6/04)
February 4, 2009: The Padres released Bush.
February 10, 2009: The Blue Jays acquired Bush.
April 1, 2009: The Blue Jays released Bush. A team official said Bush did not comply with team guidelines and the organization has a zero-tolerance policy.
January 30, 2010: The Rays signed Bush to a minor league contract.
December 18, 2015: The Rangers signed Bush to a contract.
Nov 30, 2018: Bush elected free agency.
Dec 17, 2018: The Rangers organization signed free agent Bush.
- Dec 16, 2019: The Rangers organization signed free agent Bush.
|DOB:||2/8/1986||Agent:||Moorad Sports Mgmt.|
|Birth City:||San Diego, CA|
|Draft:||Padres #1 - 2004 - Out of high school (CA)|
In 2007, Bush moved to the mound. Right away, you could see that he has the tools to make a go of it.
His FASTBALL is 94-100 mph, but rarely incorporates his 2-seam SINKER. Matt has an impressive tight 79-82 mph power-CURVEBALL. He also has an 89-92 mph slurvy-SLIDER.
2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 63.2% of the time; Sinker 5.7% of the time; Change .3%; Slider 12.6%; and Curve 18.2% of the time.
2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 64.3% of the time; Sinker 4.3% of the time; Slider 18.1%; and Curve 13.3% of the time.
2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 54.7% of the time; Sinker 8.7%; Change less than 1%; Slider 13.3%; and his Curve 23.1% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 96.8 mph, Sinker 96.5, Change 84.3, Slider 92.5, and Curve 80.6 mph.
- Matt has a power arm with the ability to miss plenty of bats.
He is athletic and has a sound, repeatable delivery, so he should be able to make adjustments and throw more strikes once he refines his feel for pitching. (Spring 2012)
Though he is short, he gets decent downhill plane on his pitches. He works the bottom of the zone.
It's not hard to imagine Bush as a two-pitch middle reliever out of the 'pen.
- In 2017, Bush got an opportunity to close for the Rangers after Sam Dyson failed miserably in that role in April. He saved 10 games, but later wound up losing the closer job to Alex Claudio.
- As of the start of the 2018 season, Matt has a career record of 10-6 with 3.08 ERA, having allowed 11 home runs and 101 hits in 114 innings.
- Matt has good balance on the mound and fields his position well.
March-June 2006: Bush suffered a broken leg during spring training.
July 2006: Matt strained a hamstring and went on the D.L. for 10 days.
August 2006: Bush was back on the D.L. for another short time when he reinjured the hamstring.
May 2007: Matt was on the D.L. for a few weeks.
August 9, 2007: Bush suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that required Tommy John ligament transplant surgery. The nature of the injury looks like it could have happened on one pitch during the game he started on August 9.
- 2008: Bush was on the D.L. most of the season while recovering from elbow surgery.
October 2008: Matt had a sore triceps and was on the D.L. most of the Instructional League season.
May 12-June 3, 2010: Bush was on the D.L. after two appearances with an oblique strain. But about a week later, Matt was back on the D.L. with a sore arm.
September 1, 2010: Bush underwent surgery on the radial nerve in his throwing arm.
Aug 21-Sept. 10, 2017: Bush was on the DL with right MCL strain.
October 19, 2017: Bush underwent surgery on his right shoulder. The 31-year-old underwent a procedure described as an arthroscopic acromioclavicular (AC) joint resection in his right shoulder. It involves removing a segment of bone at the end of his clavicle to relieve the pain in his AC joint. The procedure was done by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Bush is expected to be ready by Spring Training.
June 14, 2018: Matt was on the DL with right elbow strain.
September 19-Nov 2, 2018: Matt underwent surgery to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and is expected to be sidelined for at least the first half of 2019. Dr. Keith Meister, who performed the surgery, described it as a "repair and reinforcement" procedure.
April 2-June 8, 2019: Bush was on the IL while rehabbing for the above-listed procedure.
July 3, 2019: Matt was back on the IL for the rest of the season.
- April 6-Oct 3, 2021: Matt was on the IL with right elbow inflammation