Additionally, Director of International Scouting/Major League Scout Randy Smith announced that the club has hired former Padre John Vander Wal as a professional scout.
Matt Bush, 23, did not play in 2008 after undergoing reconstructive surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow (Tommy John surgery) in August of 2007 and was designated for assignment by the Padres on February 5. A native of San Diego, Bush was selected by the Padres first overall in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. He began his minor league career as a shortstop, batting .219 (158-for-722) with 22 doubles, five triples, three home runs, 70 RBI, 86 runs scored, 71 walks and 15 stolen bases in 206 games over parts of four seasons (2004-07) at the Rookie, Short-A and Single-A levels. Converted to pitcher during the 2007 campaign, Bush went 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA (1 ER/7.2 IP), 16 strikeouts and two walks in seven relief appearances between Rookie-level Peoria and Single-A Fort Wayne.
Ironically, Dirk Hayhurst was released by the Blue Jays to make room for Bush. Hayhurst was claimed off waivers from the Padres in October.
Vander Wal, 42, is a veteran of 14 Major League seasons with the Montreal Expos (1991-93), Colorado Rockies (1994-98), Padres (1998-99), Pittsburgh Pirates (2000-01), San Francisco Giants (2001), New York Yankees (2002), Milwaukee Brewers (2003) and Cincinnati Reds (2004). In 1,372 Major League games, he hit .261 (717-for-2,751) with 170 doubles, 18 triples, 97 home runs, 430 RBI and 374 runs scored. Vander Wal was traded from the Rockies to the Padres on August 31, 1998 and was part of San Diego’s National League championship club that season.