SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants skipper Bruce Bochy played with Rick Sweet, who managed Mauricio Dubon with the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate, and the two caught up over the phone recently. He talks often with Dave Brundage, who had Dubon for a month in Sacramento. Both men echoed what Bochy has read in scouting reports.
"He has really, really good instincts and really good tools, too," Bochy said when Dubon was called up. "He's a really smart player."
That was on display in Dubon's second inning as a San Francisco Giant. When Wil Myers broke for second with one out in the second, Dubon started moving towards the bag to take a throw. Ty France smashed a grounder up the middle and the rookie made a diving stop on the other side of the bag.
The Giants won the Mauricio Dubon trade. pic.twitter.com/QJsc19ZaFJ— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 30, 2019
"It was an instinct play," Dubon said.
There are plenty of those with the 25-year-old, and he should fit right in with a good defensive infield. Dubon said he was a little anxious before the game but mostly was excited. He looked around in the first inning and saw Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria, players he has grown up watching. They were on either side of him. Dubon looked down at the dirt near second base.
"Here's me!" he said. "Watching these guys work and go about their business these past few days, there's a reason why they have all that. I'm trying to emulate and follow their footsteps."
Bochy plans to get Dubon plenty of playing time, including a start this weekend at shortstop. He played eight innings in his debut, going 1 for 3 before giving way to Donovan Solano in the top of the ninth.
Dubon picked up his first big league hit in his second at-bat of the night, lining a Chris Paddack fastball to right field.
“The kid had a nice night,” Bochy said after a 5-3 loss to the Padres. “He really made a great play on the backhand there. A nice hit going the other way. He played well defensively and showed his athleticism. That’s a good start.”
It was a historic one in Dubon's home country. He's just the second player from Honduras to make the big leagues and said he heard restaurants back home were streaming the game. Dubon was excited to check his phone and see how many messages he had. He said a couple of times that it was an emotional night, though that never showed on the field.
[RELATED: How Dubon found out about call-up]
Dubon snuck a few peaks at his host family in the seats behind the third base line, but he kept a straight face when he made the diving stop. He managed to keep from breaking into a wide smile as he stood on first base a few innings later, the owner of a big league hit. In the dugout, he finally gave in.
"It hit me, like, 'That was my first hit,'" he said, smiling. "These guys made it special."