Bush designated to clear room for Floyd
Former No. 1 pick draws interest from other clubs, says Towers
SAN DIEGO -- If Matt Bush, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, is to make it to the Major Leagues, it won't be with the Padres.
"The Matt Bush era is probably over," San Diego general manager Kevin Towers said on Thursday.
The 22-year-old Bush was designated for assignment on Thursday to make room on the 40-man roster for outfielder Cliff Floyd, who agreed to a one-year contract worth $750,000.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that police in El Cajon were investigating allegations that Bush took part in an assault involving two boys lacrosse players on the Granite Hills High School campus in El Cajon.
El Cajon police Lt. Steve Shakowski confirmed an investigation involving Bush and allegations of assaultive behavior and public intoxication to the Union-Tribune.
"The Padres have learned of a possible off-field incident earlier this week involving pitcher Matt Bush. We are still gathering information about this incident and will have no further comment at this time," Padres CEO Sandy Alderson said in a statement.
Shortly after he was drafted in 2004, Bush was arrested after an altercation at a nightclub near the Padres' Spring Training facility in Peoria. He was accused of felony assault and misdemeanor trespassing, disorderly conduct and alcohol consumption by a minor and was subsequently suspended.
Because Bush was protected on the 40-man roster in December, preventing other teams from selecting him in the Rule 5 Draft, the Padres only options are to trade or release Bush.
"We have 10 days to trade him or ask release waivers. There have been clubs who have expressed interest in him over the last 12 months," Towers said.
"It was a difficult decision to make, but he was the 40th man on the 40-man roster. We're going to get on the phone and hope to make a trade and hope to get something back for him."
Bush was drafted as a shortstop out of Mission Bay High School in San Diego, agreeing to a $3,150,000 signing bonus only after management balked at the signing bonuses the two players they preferred -- Florida State shortstop Stephen Drew and Long Beach State pitcher Jered Weaver -- might command from agent Scott Boras.
But Bush didn't advance past the Class A level, hitting .219 over 722 at-bats. In June of 2007, the Padres converted him to a pitcher where the early returns were positive, as his velocity consistently ran in the mid-to-high 90s.
But Bush, who turns 23 on Feb. 8, threw only 7 2/3 innings that summer before his right elbow started bothering him. Bush would eventually need reconstructive elbow surgery, which forced him to miss the entire 2008 season.
"We tried it with him as an infielder, it didn't work out. We got him on the mound and he ran into the elbow problems," Towers said. "We knew this was a possibility. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions. We felt he was the right guy to designate."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.