Padres Prospect Interview: Matt Bush

It was just a few weeks ago that Matt Bush was a tormented shortstop in the San Diego Padres' minor league system. His move to the mound, however, has breathed life into his prospect status. caught up with Bush to discuss the move from shortstop to pitcher.

The 21-year-old began throwing bullpens under the tutelage of Lake Elsinore Storm pitching coach Steve Webber. It was a familiar place for him to begin the process and after several weeks of tossing side sessions, he was put in front of live hitters for the first time. From there, Bush was shipped to Peoria, Arizona to begin the process that would name him shortstop no more.

After barely sticking his nose above .200 as a hitter, Bush has yet to allow a run over four relief appearances with the Arizona Rookie League Padres. In 5.1 innings, the 5-foot-10 right-hander has fanned 11 – flashing a fastball that has registered as high as 97 MPH on the radar gun.

He was shut down due to shoulder soreness after his most recent outing, a precaution for a player who is not used to the grind of throwing two to three times a week.

Bush, health pending, is expected to land in the Midwest League with the Fort Wayne Wizards in the next few weeks – a place that he failed miserably as a hitter.

Talk about the move from shortstop to the mound and what you have found to be the biggest adjustment.

Matt Bush: The transition is going good. It is not much of a big deal for me. The biggest thing is remembering and just getting into pitching again. It is not like short where I can throw the ball – it has been three years since I pitched so I have to remember to follow through, the leg kick, the landing point – all those little things.

I am getting in better shape with running more and more. It is going well.

Is it just the mechanics associated with pitching as opposed to the inconsistent approach you can take as a shortstop?

Matt Bush: Yea, that is what I have to work on right now with my bullpens and side work. Even on flat ground I am concentrating on those things.

The pitching coach has been telling me that there is nothing really that dramatic. There is little things I can work on, but he said, ‘It looks like you have been doing this for a while.'

I am sure in a few weeks I will be back to where I used to be.

Has there been anything that has surprised you during this process?

Matt Bush: I could throw harder from short because you could crow-hop and windup. In pitching you are on the rubber and have the leg kick. I thought I could throw hard right away but it wasn't like it used to be when I was a senior. Slowly but surely I have gotten my velocity back and it hasn't been that much different from high school.

You had a chance to get back to PETCO Park with Lake Elsinore before going to Peoria. What was it like to be back in San Diego, even though you did not get a chance to play?

Matt Bush: It was really nice. It gives you a feel for the big leagues and where you want to be. Being back in San Diego and seeing my home park was nice. It was the first time I have been at the park in a long time. It was nice to be a part of it.

What are your expectations the rest of the way?

Matt Bush: I am trying to get ready. Wherever I go I will continue to work and hopefully continue to have success.

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