Nearly 12 years since being drafted, Matt Bush is finally getting the call he's dreamed of.
The former No. 1 overall pick was promoted to the Majors on Friday by Texas after starting the season with Double-A Frisco, where he was 0-2 with a 2.65 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 17 innings. The 30-year-old right-hander will join the Rangers after signing with the team this past December following a three-year prison sentence from a nearly fatal DUI incident in 2012.
The Rangers optioned outfielder Delino DeShields to Triple-A Round Rock to make space on the roster.
"Sooo excited for my boy Matt Bush to get his shot in the show," tweeted Orioles All-Star outfielder Adam Jones. "Overcame some mistakes but that never took away from his passion of baseball."
According to the RoughRiders, Bush has consistently been hitting 98-99 mph with his fastball in the Texas League. He was clocked throwing 100 mph on April 23. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn a save on April 7 in his first appearance since 2011.
Bush was the top pick in the 2004 Draft by the Padres, earning a $3.15 million signing bonus out of high school, but endured a chaotic career that was sidetracked by alcohol issues. Drafted as a shortstop, Bush was suspended before his Minor League career began in 2004 when he was arrested on suspicion of felony assault, misdemeanor trespass, disorderly conduct and underage drinking after getting into a bar fight in Arizona. He broke his ankle and missed half the 2006 season before converting to a pitcher in 2008, when his fastball topped out at 98 mph. Tommy John surgery sidelined him for all of 2008.
The Padres traded Bush to Toronto in 2009 following an incident in which he allegedly assaulted two high school lacrosse players in a parking lot. The Blue Jays released him a month later after another alcohol-fueled altercation at a party in Dunedin, Florida. He missed all of 2009.
The San Diego native signed a Minor League deal with Tampa Bay in January 2010 and was added to the Rays' 40-man roster that November before reaching Triple-A Durham in 2011. His career then came to a halt in 2012 when Bush pleaded no-contest to DUI in Florida after he hit a 72-year-old man on a motorcycle and fled the scene. Bush's blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.
But the right-hander didn't give up and continued a throwing program while serving his prison sentence. He was released last Oct. 30, signed with the Rangers in December 2015 and said he'd been sober since March 2012. The Rangers ensured that Bush attended Alcoholics Anonymous and participated in community service as Bush's father accompanied him for assistance.
Before taking the mound for Double-A Frisco this year, Bush hadn't seen Minor League action since Sept. 3, 2011, with Durham.
With Frisco, Bush hasn't allowed a run in eight of his 12 appearances. He struck out six batters over two innings on April 27 and is 5-for-5 in save opportunities. He's allowed nine hits and four walks.
In 65 career games as a pitcher in the Minors, Bush is 7-5 with a 3.86 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 88 2/3 innings. He hit .219 with three homers and 70 RBIs in 206 games as a shortstop from 2004-08, reaching Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore before converting.