Milwaukee Brewers bolster bullpen, acquire reliever Matt Bush from Texas Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers traded hard-throwing reliever and former No. 1 draft pick Matt Bush from the Texas Rangers for infielder Mark Mathias and a top promotional pick Monday night.

Bush is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA and a save in 40 games this season, including five starting in an opener role. He has not allowed a deserved run in his last 12 appearances.

He was brought in to bolster the Brewers’ bullpen the same day they traded All-Star closer Josh Hader to San Diego for reliever Taylor Rogers and three other players.

“A bit shocked, definitely wasn’t expecting it, but I think just a bittersweet moment,” Bush said. “It’s also really exciting to go to the Brewers, a team that’s really winning right now and has a chance to make the playoffs and do great things.”

Texas got Mathias and left-handed pitcher Antoine Kelly. Mathias will be added to Rangers’ 40-man roster, and Kelly will be assigned to their minor league system.

Bush, 36, has spent all five seasons in his big league with the Rangers (2016-18, 2021-22). He was the first pick in the 2004 draft as shortstop from his hometown of San Diego Padres.

Bush was a 30-year-old rookie when he made his major league debut with Texas in 2016. That first game came nearly 12 years after his call-up, the longest gap for a No. 1 pick to make his debut.

In 180 big league games as a pitcher, he is 12-7 with a 3.34 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 177⅔ innings

“It’s really hard to say goodbye here. This has been my home for a while,” Bush said. “My family and I have been treated so well here, and I feel like the organization has always put me first and baseball second.”

While organizing Tampa Bay Rays in 2012, Bush had a drink-driving crash during spring training that seriously injured and nearly killed a 72-year-old man on a motorcycle. Bush spent 3½ years in prison.

The Rangers scouted Bush in the parking lot of a restaurant where he was employed during the final months of his sentence in the fall of 2015 during a layoff program.

Bush underwent two right elbow surgeries with the Rangers. After a 2018 procedure to repair and strengthen the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament failed, Bush had to operate on Tommy John in 2019. It was the second time he’d had ligament replacement surgery since he was drafted not long after transitioning from shortstop to pitcher.

After missing 2019 and 2020 entirely, his only appearance for Texas last year was a scoreless inning in the season finale.

Mathias, who turns 28 on Tuesday, has started five games at second base for the Brewers this season. He made his big league debut with 16 games for Milwaukee in 2020 before missing all of last season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Kelly, who is 22 and was an All-Star Futures Game pick, was selected by the Brewers in the 2019 draft in the second round. He was 2-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 19 starts in Class A Wisconsin this season.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34333859/milwaukee-brewers-bolster-bullpen-acquire-reliever-matt-bush-texas-rangers Milwaukee Brewers bolster bullpen, acquire reliever Matt Bush from Texas Rangers

Emma Bowman

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