Matt Bush is expected to be ready for the start of spring training after undergoing surgery last week to clean up the bothersome AC joint in his right shoulder that required cortisone shots each of the past two seasons.
Does that mean he’s ready to take a shot at the rotation or ready to be a reliever for a third consecutive season?
The answer is both.
“We knew he needed a cleanup during the year,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “This doesn’t really change anything.”
The Texas Rangers still need three pitchers for the rotation behind Cole Hamels and Martin Perez, and the Rangers and Bush are still considering giving starting pitching a go. The idea was first broached last off-season and was revisited during Bush’s exit interview to end this season.
Bush has expressed an interest in doing it and has three pitches that would help him with a successful transition.
The Rangers want to see something else from Bush — the desire to do it.
“In our experience, the guys who have had the most success doing that are the guys who have been really driven to work at it, not the guys we asked to consider it,” Daniels said earlier this month.
The Rangers struck on two All-Stars earlier this decade when C.J.Wilson and Alexi Ogando transitions from the bullpen to starting. Scott Feldman has also had a long career as a starter after making the jump in 2008.
But there have been two colossal failures, as Neftali Feliz needed Tommy John surgery only seven starts in to his first year as a starter, in 2012, and Tanner Scheppers was never the same after making four starts to open the 2014 season.
Bush, who had a trial run as the Rangers’ closer in 2017, has never started at any time in his career, including before he spent more than three years in prison for a drunk-driving incident in Florida.