Giants

Mauricio Dubon's end-of-decade photo shows Giants dreams came true

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Mauricio Dubon's end-of-decade photo shows Giants dreams came true

Mauricio Dubon ended the 2010s wearing the same hat he wore at its beginning of the decade.

Well, it probably wasn't the exact same hat, although you can never be too sure when it comes to professional athletes' superstitions. Technicalities aside, the Giants prospect tweeted pictures Tuesday showing him wearing the team's orange-and-black cap as a fan in 2010 and then as a player in 2019. 

Dubon moved to Sacramento from Honduras as a 15-year-old in order to pursue his dreams of playing professional baseball, starting to root for the Giants around that time. The Giants acquired Dubon ahead of the MLB trade deadline last July, and the infielder played 28 games at shortstop and second base. 

The 24-year-old slashed .279/.312/.442 in 109 plate appearances with the Giants from Aug. 29 onward, soaking up lessons from veteran shortstop Brandon Crawford, a player he grew up watching.

[RELATED: Looking back at Giants' pitching leaders during the 2010s]

Though he finished the season with the Giants and appears to have the inside track to starting at second base, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Dubon will "have to come to spring training and earn that spot."

"We're going to continue to challenge him," Zaidi said in October, "and as we did this year and as I imagine we'll do a lot next year, we're going to create competition at these spots and guys are going to have to earn their roles and their playing time. He's no different, but I'm really excited about the job he did this year."

Dubon will get a look in the outfield this spring, too, as Zaidi sets out to build a more versatile Giants roster. If Dubon continues to improve and carves out a significant role next season, he'll have a strong chance of wearing a Giants hat well into the next decade, too. 

Why Gabe Kapler is so excited to finally manage Giants against Dodgers

Why Gabe Kapler is so excited to finally manage Giants against Dodgers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants, appropriately, will kick off the Gabe Kapler Era against the Dodgers.

That's where Kapler became a candidate to one day lead a club while serving as a director of player development for four years, where he learned a lot of the methods that he's now putting to use with the rival. Kapler spent plenty of time with the current and next generation of Dodgers stars, and on Thursday he noted it'll be cool to see young righty Tony Gonsolin start against Dereck Rodriguez. He said he watched a lot of Saturday's opponents, including Gonsolin, closely while working for "that other club."

Yes, Kapler is getting into the rivalry already. He wouldn't say "Dodgers" out loud while discussing Saturday's spring opener. 

"I'm just interested in the San Francisco Giants," he said, smiling, when pushed by reporters. "I've got black and orange on and I'm pretty proud of that."

Saturday is a day that Kapler has mostly avoided talking about. When asked about the start of games, he has pointed out repeatedly that the Giants have way too much work to do on back fields and in the bullpens to think too much about the Cactus League season. But it's here now, and Kapler admitted that this will be a meaningful day for him. 

For the first time since 2006, somebody other than Bruce Bochy will be on that top step. That has been an adjustment for the fan base, and many have voiced their displeasure, but the ticket Saturday is still a hot one. Mix a Cactus League opener on a Saturday with the fact that it's Giants-Dodgers and you have the most expensive ticket in spring training. According to TickPick, the average ticket for Saturday's game is $96, more than $25 more than the next hottest spring ticket (a Yankees-Blue Jays game) in 2020. 

[RELATED: Bruce Bochy visits Giants camp]

If the weather cooperates -- it's supposed to rain all day -- Kapler will give the crowd a nice preview of the season. Brandon Crawford has been pushed back a few days because he had flu-like symptoms this week, but the rest of Saturday's projected lineup is full of potential 2020 regulars:

Duggar CF
Longoria 3B
Belt 1B
Posey C
Davis RF
Slater LF
Dubon SS
Solano 2B
Ruf DH
Rodriguez SP

Bruce Bochy visits Giants camp, plans to spend time with Gabe Kapler

Bruce Bochy visits Giants camp, plans to spend time with Gabe Kapler

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Pablo Sandoval grabbed a glove from his bag, looked up and saw a familiar figure 20 yards to his left. 

"Bochy!" Sandoval yelled, waving. 

Bruce Bochy, the Giants' longtime manager and current special advisor, stayed away early in camp, trying to show respect for the new manager, Gabe Kapler. But with Team France about to start working out in Tucson, Bochy, its manager, drove to Arizona and visited his former players. He said he plans to be around off and on in the coming weeks, and several players made plans to spend more time with Bochy while he's in the area. 

Kapler did, too. He ran over to shake Bochy's hand after live batting practice and the two talked about getting together. Kapler called Bochy a "legend" and said he hoped he would speak with the full team at some point. 

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2019 🤝 2020

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"That's something I want to talk to Boch about and gauge his comfort level, but I'm really happy he's here," Kapler said. "It brings a lot of energy to the fields and it's nice to look in there and see Boch there."

Kapler and Bochy met during the search for the new manager and they had some conversations after the decision was made. Kapler said they've been in contact since, although it has been a busy period for both men. Kapler had very little time to put together a new staff and he crisscrossed the country meeting with players. Bochy did some traveling, including a visit to Miami for Sandoval's wedding. He now is preparing for World Baseball Classic qualifying. 

Bochy and Team France will play their first game March 13 in Tucson. His brother, Joe, will be his bench coach and his son, Brett, will be one of his pitchers. Bochy's team will be overmatched -- his best player is likely to be former Giant Alen Hanson, who has some French blood -- but he has thrived in those situations in the past.

[RELATED: Why Giants might not name closer before they break camp]

Kapler's first camp since taking over for Bochy has encouraged players to find any possible way to get better, and that's something the manager takes to heart. He is constantly looking for ways to improve. So what can Kapler learn from spending time with Bochy in his first season with the Giants?

"I think Boch has a really good feel for baseball from all angles," Kapler said. "I don't think there's an area of the game that he's not very developed in. Trying to get a real well-rounded view of the game through his lens is going to be really valuable for me. 

"I also think he has a really good way of just connecting with people, players, media, staff. I want to do a lot of listening when I have a chance to sit down with Boch."