One has his career still in front of him while the other is nearing the end.
And as 25-year-old Jeremy Jeffress somberly made his way around the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse saying goodbye, he almost bumped elbows with Dave Bush who, at 32, was just elated to be back in the big leagues.
“I went to bed last night without any expectation at all,” Bush said. “ But it’s been a good morning, I’m glad to be here.”
Bush only found out at 6 a.m. Sunday morning that the Blue Jays were calling him up for that day’s game against the Boston Red Sox. That is one of the benefits when your Triple-A team is located in Buffalo, a 90-minute drive away.
Jeffress, who was one of the final players to make the Blue Jays out of spring training, was paying the price for his inability to consistently throw strikes
He gave up a home run and two walks in one inning of relief work in Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Red Sox and was now being designated for assignment.
And with the Blue Jays bullpen already stretched thin by overwork early in the season, general manager Alex Anthopoulos decided to make a move.
He wanted to have a pitcher available in the bullpen who could be counted on to eat up some innings should a starter falter, and Bush, a 6-foot-2 right-hander who has been a starter for most of his professional career, fits the bill.
Bush, who started his Major League career in Toronto after being selected in the second round of the 2002 draft, was beginning to wonder if his big-league career was over.
Last season, he and his wife packed up their three young children and headed to Korea where he played pro ball with a team near Seoul.
He said it was quite the experience.
“I always told myself if I had the chance to go overseas I’d take it,” said Bush, who was playing in the Philadelphia Phillies organization at the time. “And it came up kind of in the middle of May last year. And I had to decide in a couple of days so I called my wife and said, ‘Look, here’s a chance to go somewhere we’ve never been. What do you think?’”
“She was apprehensive but it took about 48 hours to make a decision and we just decided to go for it. The next thing we knew we’re on a plane with three kids.”
Bush said it was “cool” to see that part of the world, and that while the rules of game are mostly the same, the style of play was much different than he was used to in North America.
“It’s more small ball, a little more passive,” he said. “It’s not nearly as much of a power game. They play the game a little more cautiously I’d say. They pitch, they nibble a little bit more and the hitters are a little more patient.
“Beyond that it’s much more coach driven and players, I guess players take less responsibility over there for themselves. They’re more used to direction from the coach whereas I think here part of being at this level is learning to take care of yourself and be responsible for yourself, whether it’s on the field or off the field.”
When talking with the thoughtful Bush, you rarely get the “play it one game at a time” response.
As for the cultural differences, Bush said they were profound.
“I think I wasn’t quite prepared for there to be so few foreigners there,” he said. “When I say we were an extreme minority; we would go for several days without seeing any other white people.
“Again, it’s not totally surprising in Asia, I just wasn’t totally prepared for not seeing anything in English, not having anyone who spoke English.”
Bush said he is just happy to be back, not having playing in a big-league game since 2011 with the Texas Rangers.Report Typo/Error
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