Friedman "surprised and saddened" by Bush situation; he won't play for Rays again

25

March

Tampa Bay Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman, in speaking about RHP Matt Bush's DUI hit-and-run for the first time, said Sunday the team is "very surprised and saddened" by the situation, and acknowledged that "it's safe to say he's not going to play for us."

Friedman said with the ongoing criminal investigation into Bush, and different procedural dynamics in play, it was hard to make any definitive roster moves at this time. "It's difficult to know exactly what we're going to be able to do," he said.

Bush is in Charlotte County jail, with a bond set for $1.015 million, having getting arrested Thursday after fleeing the scene when an SUV he was driving hit the motorcycle of 72-year-old Tony Tufano. Tufano was downgraded Sunday to critical conditition in a Fort Myers hospital, and is using a breathing tube, according to the family.  

"Our concerns, thoughts and prayers are with the Tufano family," Friedman said.

Friedman said they had talked about potentially setting Bush up in a rehab program, but that was only if he was out on bond, not as an altnernative to that. He said he found out about the Bush accident on Thursday while he was in his office, and hasn't spoken to the 26-year-old.

Bush, the 2004 No. 1 overall pick by the Padres, had signed with the Rays in 2010, knowing it was his last chance after watching an alcohol problem nearly derail his career - and life. He had impressed Tampa Bay with how he said, and did, the right things, and was potentially going to be able to reach the big leagues in the bullpen later this season.

"I think the fact that we were as surprised as we were speaks to how positive things were," Friedman said. "And we worked extremely hard with the support system and everything else, and I think the roster cut meeting that we had 10 days ago, was the most positive I’ve ever been a part of. It was talking about how great of a story it would be, in knowing how hard different people worked, but obviously we're sitting here right now and our concern and thoughts and prayers are with the Tufano family obviously."

When asked if Friedman regretted giving Bush a chance, he said it was a "difficult question to answer."

"Obviously, if I knew that nothing would have happened to the victim then, yeah, the answer is easy," Friedman said. "But it's hard to have that kind of hindsight in this."

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 12:40am]

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