Texas Ranger Matt Bush will be a relief pitcher in 2018, not a starter, says Jeff Banister (via the beat guys on Twitter). Bush is also not being considered for the closer role, but instead is being viewed as someone who can be used for more than one inning.
This news is not exactly a shock, particularly in light of the reports from earlier in camp that seemed to indicate that the Rangers weren’t really going to be going with a six man rotation. The Rangers’ five starters right now are Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Mike Minor, Matt Moore and Doug Fister, and unless someone gets hurt, Perez has a setback in his return from his broken elbow, or Minor struggles more than he has in his efforts to move back to a rotation spot, there’s no room for Bush in the rotation unless the team goes to a true six man setup.
Of course, Bartolo Colon is also in camp and pitched well today, and theoretically, even if they went to a six man rotation, they could opt to go with Colon rather than Bush. Bush, originally a shortstop who converted to pitching before spending time in prison for almost killing a man in a drunken accident, and who was signed by the Rangers and used as a reliever the past two years, expressed a desire to start and had been working out as a starter all offseason.
For now, though, it appears Bush is in a position to be utilized in a sort of fireman role, coming into the game before the 9th inning and being able to go two innings if needed. The rotation’s potential loss is the bullpen’s gain, as there’s a good chance Bush will end up being the team’s best reliever.