Matt Bush, one of the biggest draft busts in sports history, is going to get one last chance with the Texas Rangers.
Bush signed a minor-league contract with the Rangers Friday. He was released from prison in Florida on Oct. 30 after serving 34 months for running over a 72-year-old man while driving drunk on Mar. 22, 2012.
“Unlike some who have been accused of different crimes, or have had stuff happen in the past, Matt is not running and hiding from this,” Rangers GM Jon Daniels said on a conference call. “He has been extremely accountable, extremely remorseful.”
Bush was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft, but partied his way out of a major-league career. He was suspended for a bar fight before his first minor-league game. By 2007, he still hadn’t advanced past High-A ball, and the Padres had converted him from shortstop to pitcher when he showed no signs of developing at the plate.
He showed some promise as a hard-throwing reliever, but blew out his elbow. By the time he was ready to return from Tommy John surgery, the Padres had grown tired of his lifestyle and traded him to Toronto in 2009. He didn’t even make it out of spring training before being released after a drunken attempt to attack a woman.
Bush spent time with in the Tampa Bay system in 2010-11, but was released after his DUI arrest. As of now, he is one of only three No. 1 overall picks to never play in the majors, joining Steve Chilcott (1966) and Brien Taylor (1991).
Bush said on Friday’s conference call that he has been sober since the accident.
“It was pretty scary to deal with,” he said. “I didn’t really pay attention to the baseball world for a while because it was too hard for me.”