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Former No. 1 pick Matt Bush released from prison



Former No. 1 pick - and Rays pitching prospect - Matt Bush was released from prison Friday.

Bush, 29, has been incarcerated since the spring of 2012, most of it coming at Hamilton Correctional Institution in Jasper, Fla. It was the result of a no contest plea deal he made in Charlotte County Florida for DUI with serious bodily injury.

Bush's attorney Russell Kirshy said Bush completed a nine-month work release program, and upon release he has no probation. While Bush remains in Florida currently, Kirshy said he plans to return to Southern California, where his family lives. Agent Jonathan Weisz said he doesn't think making a baeball comeback is at the "forefront of (Bush's) mind," but will sit down with his client in coming weeks.

"He had the right attitude," Kirshy said. "My concern with  him while he was in custody was he was very much about, 'This is my pennance, and I've got to pay for it and make the best of it.'"

Authorities say Bush's blood alcohol level was 0.18 percent — more than twice the limit at which a driver is presumed impaired — when he hit 72-year-old Tony Tufano's motorcycle and left the scene. Tufano nearly died, was in intensive care for a few weeks after the crash, with injuries including a collapsed lung, brain hemorrhaging and several broken bones. Said daughter-in-law Shannon Moore: "Tony will deal with this the rest of his life."

Tufano told the Times months later that he had forgiven Bush, and hopes he turns his life around.

Bush, the No. 1 overall pick in 2004 (ahead of Justin Verlander), had a stunning fall, sparked by alcohol issues and several related arrests ended his tenure with the Padres and Blue Jays. Bush last played professional baseball in 2012, when the Rays signed him to a minor league deal with an invite to camp. Bush was pitching well, and doing all the right things, until the arrest, which served as a wake-up call. The Tufano filed a $5 million civil lawsuit against Bush and Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer, whose truck Bush used in the accident, and it was settled in May 2013 for what was believed to be $400,000.

"For the first time in his entire life, he really suffered significant consequences," Kirshy said. "Every other time he was able to buy his way out or just do the basics, do a little bit of probation or pay some money and everything turned out fine. But this is the first time he really got significant consequences."


[Last modified: Saturday, October 31, 2015 2:58pm]


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