Matt Bush maturing on the side

Peoria, AZ—Matt Bush has matured since going to the mound. He could be brooding over lost time, but he has learned valuable lessons that will aid him in the future – a future that begins after Tommy John surgery. He hopes to be back in form and throwing mid-90s heat by the San Diego Padres fall Instructional League.

Last year was tough for you. You head to Fort Wayne, things are beginning to move along in your pitching career, and, obviously, the surgery happens. What has the mental process been like for you?

Matt Bush: Difficult. I have always had a very strong arm and got to move to pitcher so things are going good – everything looks to be going the right way and something like that happens.

I wasn't feeling very good. I didn't know what it was because I had not felt anything like that before. I tried to throw a 90 MPH slider and felt a pop in there.

Ever since then – I get really impatient and that is hard to deal with. The first five or six months weren't too bad but at that time my arm was feeling bad after surgery. Then, I started thinking, ‘Am I ever going to be the same? Am I ever going to come back?'

Lately, I am starting to feel a lot better, but it is also hard because I am out here and everyone has been throwing and doing their thing and I can't – that part has been hard. I just want to let it go but I can't do that. You have to stay patient and keep being positive – I am going to come back and everything is going to be fine.

Where are you in the rehab process right now?

Matt Bush: A little more than halfway through.

What is the target? Is it Instructs or the tail end of the season?

Matt Bush: I would say the tail end of the season, hopefully, if everything goes well – the end of rookie ball. Then go into Instructs.

Before the injury, what was working for you?

Matt Bush: I was always a good pitcher and I didn't lose any of that. The only thing was I wasn't ready to be doing what I was doing. Myself – I should have watched that, ‘I don't need to throw as hard as I can. Let some off.' But, I was already letting it fly and topping out. I didn't pitch for three or four years and that caught up to me.

,I>One thing Razor (pitching coach Dave Rajsich) said after he saw you the first time was you are throwing 97 and it looks easy. The mechanics came back and snapped back into place?

Matt Bush: I guess I was always good at pitching so it was kind of always in me and wasn't really hard to get going when I got back into it. A couple of weeks and I felt good.

I feel like my arm wasn't ready for the stress and it showed by how quick something like that happened.

Did you perhaps put a little pressure on yourself, ‘I have to throw well to prove myself to these guys?'

Matt Bush: No, I just liked doing it. It was fun for me to get in there and overpower guys. It was a thrill and a joy to have a lot of success compared to every now and then like a hitter.

What do you look forward to now? We are losing a year of development time on the mound so you are behind when you think about things.

Matt Bush: Just coming back and being the same again and not having any pain. I think as long as that happens – and I will be doing all my rehabbing and strengthening so my arm will be right back to where it was – I will know how to take care of it, strengthen it and stay on it so it doesn't happen again.

Have you talked to guys like Cesar Carrillo and John Hudgins about the surgery and process – guys that have just recently gone through the surgery and are getting close.

Matt Bush: Yea, just about everyday I ask Cesar and John and other guys who have had it, ‘What did this feel like? Did you feel this? Should I be throwing on a line or should I be lobbing it?' Stuff like that. I am always asking questions. I want to know exactly what is going on.

When we spoke with Trevor Hoffman last year, he mentioned that he wanted to speak with you because he is also a converted shortstop. Did you ever get to talk to him?

Matt Bush: Just a little bit. He is a pretty busy guy. He said for me to ‘not try and do too much and have fun with it. You have to have a good work ethic. It is hard being a pitcher and seems so easy but you put so much pressure on your arm that you really have to know how to condition yourself and do the workouts or stuff like that will affect you.'

You have to listen to your arm and go with that instead of saying, ‘My arm is hurting. I am going to try and throw harder to make up for it.'

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