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01/28/10 1:21 PM ET

Rays sign former No. 1 pick Bush

Injuries, off-field issues derailed shortstop-turned-pitcher

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays have signed right-hander Matt Bush to a Minor League contract.

Bush, 24, was the No. 1 overall pick by the Padres in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of San Diego's Mission Bay High School. He began his career as a shortstop, which did not pan out as he has never played a game above Class A.

Bush was converted to a pitcher, but tore ligaments in his right elbow, resulting in Tommy John surgery. In addition to his disappointments on the field, Bush has also had some troubles off the field on two occasions that stemmed from fist fights.

Bush will report to Minor League camp with the rest of the Minor League pitchers and catchers on March 5.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.