Matt Bush pleaded no contest to driving under the influence with serious bodily injury following a spring training DUI arrest for hitting a 72-year-old motorcyclist in Florida and when it came time for sentencing yesterday the former No. 1 overall pick opted for extra prison time.
Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that prosecutors gave Bush the choice of taking three years in prison and seven years probation or four years in prison and no probation. He took the longer prison sentence, with his attorney explaining that getting out earlier to be on probation would have been a “disaster waiting to happen” for Bush considering his lengthy history of alcohol-related problems.
He’s already spent nine months in prison, so the time served was factored into the sentencing and Bush will be in prison for another three years and three months. And because it was the 27-year-old’s third DUI his license has been revoked for 10 years.
Smith writes that the 72-year-man Bush hit “is on pain medication, sleeps a lot, and has trouble remembering things” nine months after the incident, which caused a broken bone in his back, broken ribs, and brain hemorrhaging. The man’s family is upset that Bush will not have to be on probation once he’s out of prison in 2016 and has filed a $5 million civil lawsuit against him.
Bush was drafted first overall by the Padres out of high school in 2004 and signed for a $3.15 million bonus. He was in spring training camp with the Rays at the time of the arrest and was released by the team in October.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.