Exclusive Cardinals Interview – Tagg Bozied

The former top San Diego Padres prospect discusses his long road, both behind and hopefully ahead as a new member of the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

Tagg Bozied has seen the heights.

The former University of San Francisco All-American was drafted three times, following high school, in the second round (42nd overall) by the Minnesota Twins after his junior year in 2000 and again in the third round (90th overall) by the San Diego Padres in 2001.

After a contentious round of contract negotiations that led to Bozied playing briefly in independent ball, ala J.D. Drew, he joined the Padres system.

The big first baseman with the catchy handle was an instant success.

The 6-foot-3, 220 pound right hander led the entire Padres' system in home runs (24) and RBI (92) during his debut season of 2002 and that fall he set the Arizona Fall League home run record.

The sky was the limit.

Bozied was assigned to Triple-A in his second professional season and was ranked the Padres' number four prospect, ahead of some very fine players, including Josh Barfield and Jason Bay. But, Bozied was temporarily blocked at the major league level by established first basemen Ryan Klesko and Phil Nevin.

After a so-so 2003, Bozied already had eclipsed that previous season's home run count, slamming 14 long balls in just his first 46 games of 2004.

Then it all came crashing down on the high-contact slugger.

While playing for Portland of the Pacific Coast League in July, 2004, Bozied suffered the freakest of freak injuries when he ruptured his patellar tendon in his left knee jumping on home plate to celebrate a game-winning grand slam.

At the time, San Diego scouting director Bill Gayton's comment to our Padres Scout.com affiliate The Mad Friars summed up the situation perfectly.

"He was looking really good and got hurt. It was sad because he would have been in the big leagues." Gayton spoke from deep personal experience, having been the scout who originally signed Bozied.

In 2005, Bozied was still the 12th-ranked Padres prospect. But after playing just 26 games that season due to back problems related to his continued knee soreness, his star was shining considerably less brightly.

Early in 2006, the Padres unceremoniously cut Bozied loose. Bill Bryk, Padres' minor league field coordinator, expectedly expressed remorse to The Mad Friars.

"Bozied, before he got hurt, was the best bat prospect we had at the Triple-A level. Power bat prospect. He hasn't come back fully from that injury. I saw him in the Instructional Leagues and he went to winter ball and unfortunately I don't think he is back at full strength…," Bryk observed.

From there, Bozied was off to the New York Mets organization, after signing a minor league deal with them in mid-May. The now 27-year-old appeared in just 60 games at the Triple-A level in 2006 as an outfielder before becoming a minor league free agent this past fall.

After having been with the Padres for four seasons, Bozied joined his third organization in less than a year when he signed a minor league deal with the St. Louis Cardinals in November.

It is clear that Bozied is still pursuing his dreams and does not yet consider himself a minor league journeyman. While he received an invitation to the Cardinals' major league training camp in 2007, he has been that close before. Bozied has yet to take the final step - his big league debut.

In the following 11-minute audio interview exclusively for our subscribers, Bozied discusses his outlook, changes in his workout regimen, his health, why he signed with the Cardinals and much more.

What he does not do is feel sorry for himself or waste time wondering "what might have been". Robert Tanios Taggert Bozied is still moving full speed ahead.

(11:49) (subscribers only)

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.



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