Ready to adapt, Dubón used time off well

July 13th, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- spent the three-month hiatus from baseball in a high-rise apartment in Miami, but the complex lacked one key amenity: a batting cage.

Dubón wasn’t inclined to visit outside facilities, as he didn’t want to risk exposing himself or his fiancée, Nancy, to the coronavirus. So he improvised. He made a trip to an Ace Hardware store to pick up PVC pipes, ordered a pitching machine and net off Amazon and built his own cage on his balcony.

“It actually worked out pretty well,” Dubón said Sunday. “I was doing some drills, working on some basic stuff that I needed to do to get ready. It was just more balcony and cage.”

Dubón’s ability to adapt will be key as he prepares to assume a new role as a super-utility player for the Giants this season. A natural shortstop, Dubón has been learning to play center field and is expected to rove between the middle infield and the outfield in 2020.

He used the shutdown to reach out to several veteran center fielders around the league to seek their advice, soaking up as much information as possible about how to play the position. Dubón, 25, believes the knowledge he acquired has helped make him better equipped to play center field now than he was in March, even without the ability to log regular outfield reps during the layoff. 

Dubón, who came over from the Brewers in exchange for Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black at last year’s Trade Deadline, started in center field for the second consecutive day in Sunday’s intrasquad game at Oracle Park. He got a nice jump on a drive hit by Yolmer Sánchez in the third inning, but he had no realistic shot at catching it, as it went over his head for a double.

After three innings in the outfield, Dubón shifted to shortstop, offering a glimpse at how he could be used during the regular season. He could see time at second base and right field as well, underscoring the Giants’ emphasis on positional versatility under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.

“He’s prepared mentally and physically to do all of those things, and we’re trying to create as many game-like reps at those positions as possible,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

Dubón said he’s looking forward to embracing the challenge and feels he’s ready to test himself all over the diamond.

“I feel confident,” Dubón said. “The stuff that I do in the infield, I'm never going to forget because I've been doing it my whole life. And the outfield, it’s just catch the baseball. My adaptability is pretty good. It's what stands out about me so much. I’ve just got to switch my brain.”