A San Diego prep baseball standout whose Major League dreams were sidelined by prison and substance abuse is excited to be around baseball again, according to a published report.
Mission Bay High School alum Matt Bush was offered a multi-million dollar contract in 2004 when the San Diego Padres took him as their first pick in the MLB draft.
After spending 34-months in prison, Bush is now looking to compete again. He's been invited back to spring training.
"It might not seem like much to anybody," Bush told a Dallas-based newspaper last week. "But it means the world to me. Every day I walk to and from the park and feel free. Little things like that are important to me."
Bush's problems off the field started almost immediately after he was drafted. There was a bar fight in Arizona that ended his relationship with the Padres. Then, in 2009 when he was 23, Bush pleaded guilty to assaulting students at Granite Hills High School during a lacrosse practice. He tearfully told the judge he had a problem with alcohol. He was ordered to enter rehab.
Three years later, as a minor leaguer with the Tampa Bay Rays, Bush accepted a plea deal for driving under the influence and fleeing the scene of a crash. His blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.
Now, Bush is 30 years old, out of prison and in recovery. In fact, he told ESPN he's been sober since March 2012.
Just three months ago, the Texas Rangers organization signed Bush for its Frisco RoughRiders team.
Bush said he's been excited to be around other baseball players in Surprise, Arizona as the pros gather for spring training.
"My past has been full of mistakes," he told the Dallas Sporting News. "I have to understand that I'm an alcoholic and that I can't be around that. I can't control myself when I am. But the past is also the past and the mistakes were made when I was younger. I feel like I'm more aware of my situation now."