Bush confident about transition to closer role

Rangers righty doesn't plan to change anything in his approach

Bush confident about transition to closer role

OAKLAND -- Rangers right-hander Matt Bush has had little trouble handling the seventh or eighth inning as a setup reliever. Bush said he shouldn't have to change anything now that he is the closer.

"I've just got to get the job done," Bush said. "When I was pitching the seventh or eighth inning, I always felt I was a closer. If I could hold them, the guys behind me would do their jobs and we would win the game. It's a different area, but I have to focus on getting people out."

Bush is taking over as closer now that Sam Dyson is on the disabled list with a contusion on his right hand. Dyson last pitched Sunday, so he is not eligible to come off the disabled list until April 28.

That doesn't mean Bush will be a short-term closer. Injury is not what thrust him in this role. Dyson did not succeed on his first three save opportunities and it was clear a change could be coming.

Bush pushed his way into position by striking out the side in the eighth inning Sunday before Dyson allowed two runs in the ninth in an 8-7 loss. Manager Jeff Banister said Jeremy Jeffress and Tony Barnette could get a chance to close out games, but Bush would get first opportunity.

"It's a time to come in and get outs," Bush said. "That's the main thing. No matter what the situation, we need guys to put up zeros. That's what I'm focused on doing. It might be one inning different, but my job is to put up a zero. If I do that, it's a great day."

Bush was pitching Sunday for the first time in a week. The Rangers gave him the down time because of soreness in the AC joint of his right shoulder. A cortisone shot helped clear it up and Bush had an explosive fastball Sunday against the Mariners.

"When he has that dominant fastball, he's hard to hit," Banister said.

Bush said he was not alarmed by the soreness in the shoulder. He had a similar issue last year and was able to get through it.

"I didn't have a good understanding of the AC joint," Bush said. "But I have a better understanding of what's going on. I'm confident I'll be fine."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. 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.