MadFriars' Interview: Jesus Guzman

TUCSON: Entering into 2008 Venezuela's Jesus Guzman, 27, had toiled for seven long years in the minor league systems of Seattle, Oakland and San Francisco with only twelve major league games with the Giants in 2009.

Although Guzman had career numbers of .305/.373/.480, defensive limitations and being in the wrong place at the wrong time prevented him from establishing himself on a major league roster despite the ability to play third, first, second and left field.

Signed by the Padres as a minor league free agent most observers, primarily because of his age, would classify him as an "organizational player"; not really a prospect but signed to fill a void within the system.

But then Guzman started to hit and hit and hit. He ended up at .332/.423/.539 with 57 RBIs and 31 extra-base hits in 63 games before being promoted to San Diego with the release of Jorge Cantu.

This season only Anthony Rizzo posted better offensive numbers for Tucson. His only negative was fourteen errors, the majority being at third base.

"If he stay's here he's going to end up with over 100 RBIs," said TPadres manager Terry Kennedy before Guzman's promotion.

"The only thing that has really held him back has been his defense because he has hit wherever he has gone."

We caught up with him in mid-June to reflect on his season and the reasons behind his improvement.

Could you go over how you came into the Padres' organization?

Jesus Guzman: Last year I was in the San Francisco Giants organization and in the winter I signed with the Padres as a free agent. I'm glad to be here because they gave me an opportunity to play everyday.

You played so many positions throughout your career. Where do you feel most comfortable?

Jesus Guzman: Probably the outfield but really anywhere in the lineup is great.

This year you have put up some of the best numbers of your career. What has been the reasons behind your success?

Jesus Guzman: I do what I can do. I come to the stadium early and get in the cage. Then I go over and see where I am going to play. Then go out to the field and work there.

You've played some difficult positions; third and second. Many have difficulty playing one how do you maintain so many?

Jesus Guzman: I really want to be in the lineup wherever they put me. I've always told the manager wherever you want to play me is great as long as I am out there.

You'll even pitch right?

Jesus Guzman: Oh yeah, not that well, but I will pitch [laughs].

The Padres always seem to seek minor league free agents that have pretty good on-base percentages. Have you always been that type of patient hitter?

Jesus Guzman: I'm here to help the team and whatever they need I do. It's the National League and that game is about getting on-base. I'm here because I want to be in the big leagues and whatever it takes, I'm going to do.

Has that helped your power numbers, being more selective and looking for balls to drive?

Jesus Guzman: Yeah, I think so. This year I've been working on taking my walks and being more patient. I think this year I have walked more than ever before.

What is the biggest thing you have been trying to work on since you have been in Tucson?

Jesus Guzman: My program defensively every year is different because I have been moved so much. So this year I have really been working on trying to become a better defensive player wherever they put me.

I've always work hard on my hitting but I know I need to get better defensively to get back to the big leagues.


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