ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Matt Bush was working his way to reach the majors with the Rays when he made the worst of his mistakes, a serious DUI crash during spring training 2012 that led to him being jailed until last October.
But tonight Bush makes it to the Trop, pitching against the Rays as a key member of the AL West-leading Rangers bullpen.
Rays C Bobby Wilson, who was with Texas this season, said Bush has been impressive, as a pitcher (5-2, 2.83 in 40 games) and a person.
"Pure stuff, it's pretty amazing," Wilson said, "For a guy who obviously has his history to come back and be thrown right into the fire as a late-inning guy is pretty amazing. …
"I just hope he continues with the way he's been working, the way he's been listening, the way he wants to learn. Because at 30 years old and a rookie, there is still life in that arm and he can extend his career. I think it's great. I'm so happy for him. He's a good person. He wants to be there … just everything about him.
"He has a presence on the mound. Everything that he does shows me he wants to be the best he can possibly be and let go of the mistakes he's made and live up to his potential."
REVENGE-MINDED? After starting last season with the Rays, Wilson finished it helping the Rangers get to the playoffs and was with them this spring training. After a trade to and a month later from the Tigers, he was with the Rangers for a good chunk of this season until being waived (after the acquisition of Jonathan Lucroy) and claimed by the Rays on Aug. 5.
So facing the Rangers this weekend is understandably a cause for mixed emotions.
"Obviously I've built some pretty good relationships over there the past year, and I want nothing but the best for those guys," Wilson said. "But for these three games, I want to play well and I want to beat them. I wish them the best after these three days and hope they run away with the division. But I play for the Rays now, and I'll do everything I can to help this team win."
TO THE MATT: RHP Matt Andriese cruised to a 5-0, 2.82 mark in his first seven starts after his early May promotion. But he hasn't done well since returning to the rotation after a seven-week stint in the bullpen, going 0-2, 6.59 in three starts.
"I think it's been a little different," he said, going into tonight's test against the powerful Rangers. "More things were going my way early on but I'm still going out there taking the right mindset. It's tough going from the bullpen back to the rotation, I kind of got all out of funk a little bit. … It's a slight adjustment, it's just getting back into a groove pretty much."
SAFE, SORRY: OF Mikie Mahtook is an LSU product and an offseason resident of Baton Rouge, so he has been paying close attention to the flooding situation there. Mahtook said his place was fine, and his friends were all safe, but he feels for the others.
"Talking to guys that are living there now, they said it was pretty bad," Mahtook said. "I wish there was something I could do; I'm still trying to figure out how I could help."
REHAB REPORT: LHP Enny Romero (back strain) made his first rehab appearance for advanced Class A Charlotte on Thursday, throwing an 18-pitch 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. … OF Oswaldo Arcia (right elbow strain) was 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs for the Stone Crabs. In eight previous rehab games he hit .261 with one homer and four RBIs.
MISCELLANY: The Rays lead the AL with a 2.91 ERA since the All-Star break, through they are only 16-15. … 2B Matt Duffy (left Achilles soreness) and 2B Logan Forsythe (back spasms) are expected to be back in the lineup tonight. … The player development contract with the Class A Midwest League Bowling Green Hot Rods was extended through 2018.