Matt Bush has had numerous off-the-field issues, suffered multiple injuries, spent time in three different organizations in three years, and made the switch from shortstop to pitcher in an effort to avoid being a complete bust … and now the former No. 1 pick is blowing away hitters in the minors.
Well, sort of.
Bush has a 5.36 ERA while pitching at Double-A for the Rays, but as Tommy Rancel of ESPN-1040 in Tampa Bay notes he also has a remarkable 68 strikeouts in 44 innings.
His control is spotty and he’s been far from unhittable despite the huge strikeout rate, but if any other pitcher was missing that many bats at Double-A it would be noteworthy. Bush leads the Southern League with 14.0 strikeouts per nine innings and the only other pitcher in the league with a mark above 12.5 is Braves relief prospect and former second-round pick Billy Bullock.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.