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Bush gets first 2017 save under his belt

Manager pleased with how righty carried himself before, during outing
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister admitted he was watching reliever Matt Bush closely in the ninth inning on Sunday afternoon.

Robinson Chirinos had just hit a home run in the bottom of the eighth to give the Rangers a 5-2 lead, and Bush took over for his first save opportunity as the newly promoted closer. Bush had a save last year, but it was only because Sam Dyson was given the day off.

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ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister admitted he was watching reliever Matt Bush closely in the ninth inning on Sunday afternoon.

Robinson Chirinos had just hit a home run in the bottom of the eighth to give the Rangers a 5-2 lead, and Bush took over for his first save opportunity as the newly promoted closer. Bush had a save last year, but it was only because Sam Dyson was given the day off.

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Now the job is his, at least for the foreseeable future.

"Yes, I did [watch him]," Banister said. "I watched him from the time he warmed up, same look entering the field. All those things matter. He attacked the strike zone with the fastball, used other pitches when needed, didn't try to do anything special. I like what we saw. How he came off the field was good. There had to have been some excitement."

Bush pitched the ninth inning Thursday and Saturday, but both were in a tie game. Banister said a save situation is different.

"There's nobody behind you," Banister said. "Everybody is looking at you. How you handle it is key. I didn't see anything different or added anxiety. He was the same guy. Losing a lead, there is a significantly different feeling than when you are tied."

Bush set the side down in order for only the second save by a Rangers pitcher this year.

"It's always good to get the first one out of the way," Bush said. "Not only that, but we won a game, and that's what's awesome. That's what's amazing, to have that opportunity to be in that situation, as a team, is great. And to come in and be able to finish it. That's what it is all about right there."

Bush admitted it was a little more exciting because it was his first save opportunity.

"But other than that, it feels the same to me," Bush said. "I come in, look to get guys out and get in the dugout as quick as possible. So that aspect doesn't change. I was maybe a little more excited, but not too much. I'm used to these situations to come in and keep the score close. Now I'm just the last guy, but it doesn't change my job."

Dyson is on the disabled list because of a contusion on his right hand and is on medical rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Round Rock. He is scheduled to throw Monday and Tuesday, then be re-evaluated.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Matt Bush