Padres Prospect Interview: Tagg Bozied

One of the more intriguing Padres prospects, Tagg Bozied, 26, was drafted by the Padres in the third round of the 2001 draft out of the University of San Francisco. In 2004 Bozied finally starting to realized the promise the Padres had always foreseen for him, hitting .315/.374 and a very good .629 slugging percentage, with 17 doubles and 16 home runs in 57 games. A big right handed-hitter, his swing seemed made for PETCO.

Then after hitting a walk-off grand slam home run, Tagg's knee gave out, tearing his left patella tendon as he jumped on home plate to celebrate. An injury that was supposed to heal in the off-season lingered longer than expected, in effect screwing up his back and neck. Two rehabilitation attempts have ended, and the Padres decided to put him on the shelf until the winter leagues.

We caught up with Tagg after a pre-game workout to find out how he has been doing, his health and the Padres' plans for his future.

John Conniff: You seem to look pretty good right now, how has your health been?

Tagg Bozied: My health is fine. I could be playing right now, but the turf here kind of presents a different situation. So I think there plan is to just rest me and I will go to winter ball in either Venezuela or Mexico and come back well rested for spring training next year.

John Conniff: Is it your knee or your back that is hurting you?

Tagg Bozied: My knee is fine, it's completely rehabbed its ready to go. The back is something that I may have developed from the imbalances within my knee.

I was fine when I was in Mobile, and I was fine when I came up here and we were on the road, but as soon as I got back to Portland, I started to have some problems.

John Conniff: Is the turf too soft?

Tagg Bozied: Its got spring, for everyone its different. For me, since I'm a little more high maintenance, it presented some problems.

John Conniff: Last year you had a slugging percentage around .629, which is great, but the Padres have limited you to playing first base. Are there any plans to try you at another position?

Tagg Bozied: I'm going to the instructional league first in the middle of September, and from what they have told me I'm going to be playing left and right field. I have played both before, and I'm looking forward to giving myself other options besides first base. For whatever reasons, they have always kept me at first base.

I'm trying to make that major league team, so I need all the options that I can.

John Conniff: You also played some third base in the past?

Tagg Bozied: I played third base the last three years of college.

John Conniff: There has even been some talk of having you catch?

Tagg Bozied: Yeah, until I got hurt. Obviously with my knee that is something I'm trying to stay away from.

John Conniff: What has been the toughest part sitting out this year?

Tagg Bozied: Anybody that has been injured would know it's just a grind. The rehab process is an up and down thing, it's just something that is tough. You just have to press through it, this is my career, what I do for a living. My job is to get better at rehab. Sometimes when I start pouting about the process, you have to remember this is what I do.

You just have to get healthy and get back on the field.

John Conniff: Can you go through your day when you are rehabbing?

Tagg Bozied: It is a little different now. When I was in the full rehab phase I was flushing soft tissues out of my knee, doing some pretty remedial exercises. Now I'm back to doing more normal things, a lot of balance work and things you would see people doing in the gym. The only difference is I'm not putting myself through the grind of playing everyday.

It's just different on your body than playing as a position player. It just gets tedious, really boring. Trying to get healthy, but as I said, if I get back to where I was before, I think its going to happen for me.

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