Sunday, January 30, 2011
Dave Bush gets spring training invite
By Richard Durrett
The Texas Rangers agreed to terms Sunday with free agent right-handed pitcher Dave Bush to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported that if Bush makes the team, he'll earn $1 million in base salary and could earn another $1 million in incentives. The deal also includes a clause allowing Bush to opt out of the minor league deal if he's not on the big league roster.
The 31-year-old was 8-13 with a 4.54 ERA in 32 games (31 starts) for the Brewers in 2010. The Rangers see him as someone who can add depth to the pitching staff. Assistant general manager Thad Levine said Bush could end up helping the team as either a starter or a long reliever who could spot start when needed.
"I think we've got a player that's been an accomplished starting pitcher, very versatile and there are a lot of ways he can contribute as we put together the best 12-man staff we can," Levine said.
Bush had 18 quality starts last season, his highest total since 2006, and his 20 unearned runs allowed in 2010 were the highest single-season total for any major league pitcher the past three seasons.
Bush has pitched at least 174 1/3 innings in four of his last five seasons with at least 29 starts in those four years.
Bush, 56-68 with a 4.66 ERA in 193 games, started his career in Toronto in 2004 (he was taken in the second round of the 2002 draft by the Blue Jays). He was traded from Toronto to Milwaukee as part of the deal that brought Lyle Overbay to Toronto. Bush worked with current Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux when the two were in Milwaukee, and Levine said that relationship was instrumental in the Rangers signing Bush to a non-roster deal.
"You know he will help us at some point this year, whether it's Opening Day or beyond," Levine said. "I think you have an open competition in spring training, you break camp with 12 guys and you see what happens. In the average year you need 18 to 20 pitchers, and if you get decimated it can be a lot more. One reason we won the AL West and advanced in the playoffs was that when we had injuries, we replaced them with Major League-caliber pieces. We want to be sure our manager and pitching coach have good pitchers that can plug any holes."
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his mailbag.