Matt Bush: ‘When I Drink…'

Former MLB top draft pick tells judge of alcohol problem and how he wants to start life over

Former Padres top draft pick and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Matt Bush faced an El Cajon judge Tuesday and apologized publicly for his recent actions tied to what he described as his “alcohol problem."

Bush, 23, has pleaded guilty to assaulting students at Granite Hills High School during a lacrosse practice and of driving recklessly and committing vandalism in separate incidents.

“The way I acted was a disgrace and I take responsibility,” he told the court in a prepared statement.

“When I drink alcohol I become another person which I do not like,” he said.

He told the court he was in the process of working through his problems in treatment and apologized to his parents and family. “This is not how they raised me to act,” he said.

Bush has been in treatment since July 7 and told the judge he's been sober since June 29.

The judge was very frank with the man who once had the whole world at his fingertips.  “I suggest you make that a lifetime habit,” said Judge DeAnn M. Salcido.

“There is no shame in being an alcoholic but there is shame in not addressing it,” the judge told him. She suggested he deal with his problems in treatment or they will continue to haunt him. She referred to his discipline as a young athlete as a tool he can use to overcome his problems with alcohol.

“This is your chance to redeem yourself and we’re all rooting for you,” she said while warning him at the same time that one hiccup in his path would land him in jail.

The San Diego Padres drafted Bush with the first pick in 2004 and traded him to Toronto in February after he allegedly assaulted members of a high school lacrosse team. He's charged with misdemeanor battery in that case. Toronto released Bush in April for failing to comply with team guidelines.

Just two weeks ago, Bush was arrested after backing his car into another vehicle in Mission Valley. The arrest was recorded and posted on YouTube.

Before leaving court Tuesday, Bush thanked the judge for the opportunity to get his life back together.

Bush will be placed on three years probation with no alcohol and has been ordered to complete 240 hours of community service that  will be on hold until he successfully completes 120 days of residential treatment.

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