Bush reunites with Rangers on Minors deal
Rehabbing reliever, three others also receive Spring Training invites
ARLINGTON -- Right-handed reliever Matt Bush is staying with the Rangers, the club announced on Monday.
Bush is one of four players -- along with pitchers Zac Curtis and Tim Dillard and infielder Chase d'Arnaud -- who have agreed to a Minor League contract with the Rangers. All four will be in Major League camp for Spring Training.
Bush, who turns 33 in February, became a free agent when the Rangers did not tender him a contract before the Nov. 30 deadline. He underwent surgery on Sept. 19 to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and is not expected to be ready until the second half of the season.
But the Rangers wanted him back, and Bush made it clear he didn't want to go anywhere else. He is expected to resume a throwing program on Jan. 1.
"I never wanted to leave," Bush said. "This is home. The phase we are going into, I want to be a part of it. I can't wait to get back on the field."
The Rangers are hoping to get Bush back to the level where he was at as a rookie in 2016, when he went 7-2 with a 2.48 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. Bush pitched in just 21 games for the Rangers last season, with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP before going on the disabled list on June 15. He missed the rest of the season.
The Rangers claimed Curtis, a left-handed reliever, off waivers from the Phillies on Aug. 7, and the 26-year-old appeared in eight games for them. Over 16 1/3 innings between Philadelphia and Texas in 2018, he allowed 12 hits and struck out 18. The problem was he walked 19 batters and ended up with a 4.96 ERA.
Curtis is a hard-throwing lefty with a fastball and slider combination that gets swings and misses from hitters. He has held opponents to a .226 batting average over 42 Major League outings with the D-backs, Mariners, Phillies and Rangers. He has also struck out 8.1 batters per nine innings but walked 8.3.
Dillard is a side-arming right-hander who throws strikes but is not overpowering. He made 73 appearances with the Brewers from 2008-09 and 2011-12, with a 4.70 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .286 opponents' batting average, 6.6 strikeouts and 3.1 walks per nine innings.
The Brewers selected Dillard in the 34th round of the 2002 Draft, and the 35-year-old has spent all or parts of 12 seasons at Triple-A, including the last four with Colorado Springs.
The Rangers view d'Arnaud as a candidate to be their utility infielder. He has played every position except catcher. He even pitched an inning for the Giants last season.
d'Arnaud, a right-handed hitter, has played in parts of seven Major League seasons with the Pirates, Phillies, Braves, Red Sox, Padres and Giants. He has a career .222 batting average, .273 on-base percentage and .316 slugging percentage. The 31-year-old is the brother of Major League catcher Travis d'Arnaud.
"He is a versatile guy with experience and athleticism who can play all over the field," Rangers assistant general manager Josh Boyd said.