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Author Topic: Matt Bush Goes From No. 1 Pick to Prison to Major Leagues  (Read 912 times)
Getbig V
Posts: 14858

« on: May 14, 2016, 01:23:53 PM »

Former inmate, No. 1 pick Matt Bush impresses in ‘surreal’ MLB debut; Pitches Perfect 9th Inning

If the pressure of an MLB debut affected Matt Bush on Friday, he sure didn’t show it.

The 30-year-old Rangers rookie who was incarcerated just seven months ago, entered Friday’s game in the ninth inning with the Rangers trailing 5-0 and promptly retired the meat of the Blue Jays order in 17 pitches — 10 of which clocked in at 96 mph or faster.

Bush struck out the first batter of the inning, reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson, before getting Jose Bautista to pop out to second and Edwin Encarnacion to foul out to first. Those three batters combined for 120 home runs and 348 RBIs in 2015.

"I was just focused on trying to be myself out there and continuing to do what I've done in Double-A," Bush said (via "But it was pretty surreal, though, with those guys in the box. It felt good to throw a couple of pitches past those guys. It just boosts my confidence. To be able to have a good outing that first time, it's just amazing."

Bush, the top pick (as a shortstop) in the 2004 MLB Draft by the Padres, signed a minor-league deal with Texas in December, not long after completing a prison sentence stemming from a hit-and-run wreck during spring training in 2012 that seriously injured a 72-year-old motorcyclist. Bush pleaded no contest to driving under the influence with serious bodily injury — his third DUI —  and spent 34 months in prison, the last nine of them in a work-release program.

He had not appeared in an organized baseball game for five years before reporting to Frisco in April.

"I think the crowd gave me chills out there when it got really loud, and everything just kind of hit me," Bush said Friday. "Where I've come from, getting out here and just having the support of the fans and the Rangers behind me, it just felt amazing."

As loud as the crowd cheered for Bush, his biggest supporters were in the dugout.

"Everyone's giving me high-fives, and (manager Jeff) Banister looking me straight in the eye and telling me I did a great job and he was proud of me," Bush said. "It's an amazing feeling."
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Getbig V
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2016, 06:31:11 AM »

check out the ron leflore story... detroit tigers.
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Getbig V
Posts: 14858

« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2016, 10:30:03 PM »

Odor Owns Bautista

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Getbig V
Posts: 14858

« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2016, 10:34:53 AM »

The choice to go with Bush does seem strange but if you are wanting to send a message might as well use the guy who hits triple digits on the gun.

The Rangers picked a strange time and pitcher to plunk Jose Bautista

Matt Bush was dealing with enough before getting caught in the middle of Sunday's hostilities with the Blue Jays.

I get why the Rangers would want to hit the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista, though they should be far more upset about the homer they allowed to him in last year’s Division Series than his bat flip after it.

I get why Bautista would go in hard, late and – yes – illegally on Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor; for decades, players have attempted to settle scores in such fashion.

And I get why Odor would clock Bautista, not necessarily as a reaction to the slide but as further revenge for what happened at the Rogers Centre seven months ago.

Here is what I don’t get:

The timing of Matt Bush drilling Bautista. And the choice of Bush as the pitcher to do the Rangers’ dirty work, given that he was still in prison during last year’s Division Series and is a recovering alcoholic who has been in the majors for less than a week.

The Rangers had just taken a 7-6 lead on a three-run homer by Ian Desmond in the bottom of the seventh inning. Bush had inherited a bases-loaded, none-out situation in the top half and escaped by allowing only one run. It’s only May, but every game counts and the Rangers’ eventual victory would vault them into first place in the AL West.

Why put Bautista on base as the potential tying run?

And why wait to exact retribution until the Jays’ next-to-last at-bat of the seven-game season series between the teams?

I’m not sure I agree that gutless and cowardly are the right words to describe the Rangers; Jays manager John Gibbons invoked the first adjective, Bautista the second. The Jays had time to retaliate – indeed, they hit the Rangers’ Prince Fielder in the bottom half, though that act came with both teams under warnings, and prompted Jesse Chavez’s ejection.

And dumb.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister denied that Bush intentionally hit Bautista, telling reporters, “I’m not going to entertain that talk or question, to think we’re going to put the tying run on purpose, I’m sorry.”

Well, Bush has yet to walk a batter, or even allow a hit, in 2 1/3 innings. He had walked only four and hit one in 17 innings in the minors. Even his plunking of Bautista was well-placed, as these things go -- he fired his 96-mph fastball at Bautista’s ribcage, not the slugger’s head.

It hardly appeared to be an accident.

Now, if the Rangers did not want to hit Bautista during a four-game series earlier this month, OK – the scene at Rogers might have gotten ugly. Better to save the moment for his first plate appearance in the series opener at Globe Life Park in Arlington on Friday night, or maybe his second.

But the Rangers did not throw at Bautista on Friday night. They did not throw at him on Saturday. No, they waited until Sunday, with the game on the line – and they chose Bush to carry out the mission, apparently because they had run out of time.

As if Bush wasn’t dealing with enough already.

He spent almost three years in prison for nearly killing a man while driving drunk. The Rangers, since signing him to a minor-league contract last Dec. 18, have taken great care to re-acclimate him to the baseball lifestyle.

Bush, 30, is living with his father, Danny, and will be accompanied on the road by either Danny or Roy Silver, a Rangers special assistant. Silver met Bush in 2009 when the two were with the Blue Jays, became a mentor to him and – after Bush was released from prison - recommended that the Rangers sign him.

The situation remains delicate. The Rangers to this point have handled it with sensitivity and care. And one could argue that Bush’s plunking of Bautista actually will help in his transition, earning him respect in the Rangers’ clubhouse.

Still, the Rangers had 12 other pitchers available for the task, and Bush probably was the last one who needed extra attention. Bush told reporters afterward that he was aware of Bautista’s bat flip, but declined comment when asked whether he was trying to deliver a purpose pitch.

That pitch should have been thrown much earlier by a different pitcher – if you even believe that the bat flip merited such a response, which I do not.

The Rangers should ask for a do-over. On second thought, maybe not.
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Getbig V
Posts: 14858

« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2016, 03:25:10 PM »

Texas Rangers’ Rougned Odor Earns Free BBQ For Life For Punching Jose Bautista

During Sunday’s game between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor lobbed the punch heard ‘round the world at Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista. The punch, which earned Odor an eight game suspension from Major League Baseball, also scored him a pretty delicious reward.

According to SportsDay DFW, Fort Worth’s Heim Barbecue has extended Odor free smoked meats for life in response to the punch. Owner Travis Heim had 40 t-shirts reading "Rougned Eats Free" printed, and planned to keep his promise. From there, the demand expanded dramatically. At present, more than 110 of the t-shirts have been sold.

"We just thought it would be a funny thing if we offered Rougie free food because he wasn't the only one who wanted to punch Bautista after last year," owner Travis Heim told NBC 5. "So you know, it's kind of a justice, a little bit."

Odor will have to wait for Heim Barbecue’s brick-and-mortar restaurant to open its doors, expected to happen next month, to redeem his reward. In the meantime, you can score your very own "Rougned Eats Free" t-shirt via Tilt.
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