Matt Bush Finding Success With New Role
PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA. — Righthander Matt Bush caught the eye of Rays manager Joe Maddon last spring when the converted infielder made his first appearance in big league camp as a reliever.
After a solid season at Double-A Montgomery and a good start to this year's camp, Bush—who has battled addiction, legal issues and injuries—has made an even greater impression.
"Here's a guy that's overcoming a lot of adversity and he's doing a great job with it," Maddon said. "To his credit, the second half of last year in the Southern League I guess he was lights out, and it looks like he's carrying that over right now, because it looks really good."
Bush, 26, went 5-3, 4.83 with the Biscuits, but improved as the season went on, with a 3.04 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 24 innings after the all-star break.
Pretty impressive for a guy drafted No. 1 overall by the Padres in 2004 as a shortstop who never got above Class A, then was traded to and released by the Blue Jays before signing with the Rays in January 2010. He was limited to 10 appearances that year due to medical issues, including nerve surgery in his right arm.
"He's a guy that's learning his craft pretty quickly," Maddon said. "He's a real focused, straight-up kind of guy. He's doing everything right right now."
The Rays are trying to be conservative with Bush, but he is making a strong push through the organization.
"There's nothing but good things being said about him," Maddon said.
• Catcher Chris Gimenez was signed to a minor league deal just before the start of spring training. Gimenez has played in 97 big league games for the Indians and Mariners.
• The Rays will have both of their potential future shortstops in major league spring training, inviting Tim Beckham, who is likely to play at Triple-A Durham, and Hak-Ju Lee, who is headed to Montgomery.