Former top pick Bush impresses in Texas debut

Former top pick Bush impresses in Texas debut

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Wielding a fastball that hit 97 mph, Rangers Minor League pitcher Matt Bush threw two scoreless innings in the Rangers' 5-0 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday.

"Pretty impressive and fun to watch," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "To step back out on this stage has to be fun for him. He had an explosive fastball and a plus breaking ball. He threw strikes down in the zone. You do that, it makes it hard to hit.

"That was as good of stuff as we've seen in camp."

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Bush faced seven batters and retired six of them. He walked one batter and struck out two.

Bush strikes out Soler

"First of all, it was very exciting," Bush said. "I hadn't thought about being in a Major League game, it has been a long time since I've been in a Major League Spring Training game. I have been throwing the ball well. It was just exciting to get the opportunity again."

Bush was the Padres' first-round pick (first overall) in 2004 as a shortstop who was later converted to pitcher. His career was knocked off course by his alcohol addiction, and he spent over three years in jail when he nearly killed a motorcyclist in a 2012 collision.

The Rangers signed Bush this past offseason to a Minor League contract on the recommendation of Roy Silver, the Rangers' player development assistant who also assisted Josh Hamilton in his recovery. Bush said his Spring Training has gone better than expected.

"It has, I didn't expect to be throwing as hard as I was before," Bush said. "I worked very hard, and the Rangers do a good job of getting you into shape. Getting out here early was a big factor. Just stay the course and continue to do all the things I need to do."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.