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Mauricio Dubon wants you to know that he’s different



Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

SACRAMENTO — The origin story — the same play-by-play he’s recited countless times — doesn’t flow out of him rote. He sounds excited to share where he is now and where he came from, a bar story with a baseball field backdrop.

Mauricio Dubon wants you to know who he is. He wants you to know he’s different. With his past, it’s hard not to be.

“I love people finding out that it’s not just, I got drafted and then all of a sudden, straight to the big leagues,” Dubon told KNBR last week, before his Tuesday promotion to the Giants. “Not everybody can be a straight shot.”

Dubon is all zig-zag. Born in Honduras, a soccer-crazed country. A brother who happened to love baseball — and, with an injury, would flame out professionally — turned him on to the game. Where some have coaches and managers, Dubon had a brother and a TV, watching what major leaguers would do and then trying to emulate it. He had a loving mother who wanted the best for him. And he had a game that predates his memories.

“I just grew up on a field,” Dubon said from Raley Field.

It felt like home, which is why the biggest decision of his life did not come with as much forethought as one would imagine.

Dubon was 15 in June 2010 when a baseball missions trip arrived in Honduras. One of the coaches saw Dubon practicing and they talked, Dubon able to communicate because he went to a bilingual school. Dubon had impressed him. Of course he did.

“I was good. I was always good,” he said, even if this wasn’t the first American baseball group the confident Dubon hoped to stick with.

But he was good.

“Next thing I know, they’re telling me like, ‘Hey, I want you to come.’ I knew this was one of the ways I can pursue my dream. I talked to Mom, I talked to my brother. I told them that I wanted to go.”

Just like that, a few days later, he went. The scene lacked the Hollywood tears. He said it happened so quickly, the gravity hadn’t sunk in yet.

He had a host family in Sacramento, and what he described as “broken” English was about to get sharper. He was suddenly a student at Capital Christian High School. When most Americans at that age are worried about algebra and chemistry, he was carving a new life. He had a quietly difficult time at first, essentially trading families, lives, countries as a teenager.

“I was talking with my mom every day,” Dubon said. “She was like, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ I was devastated, but I didn’t want to tell her that. I didn’t want her to feel bad.”

How long did it take him to adjust, to feel as if he had found his new home?

“Two weeks,” he said simply. “And that was fine because I was playing baseball.”

He quickly became a Giants fan, donning a Brandon Crawford jersey in a journey that became a sort of Rube Goldberg machine that ends with him sharing an infield with the shortstop at Oracle Park.

Out of Capital Christian, he was drafted by Boston in the 26th round in 2013. He reached Double-A with the organization before being dealt in December 2016.

(He didn’t realize the Giants have a September trip to Fenway Park scheduled. He lit up when informed.

“Everybody,” he said about whom he knows on the team. “The whole starting lineup. … Xander [Bogaerts], [Rafael] Devers, [Andrew] Benintendi, all those guys. Mookie [Betts].”) 

He made Milwaukee his new home, and, even though he was blocked positionally, he debuted earlier this season. His July 7 at-bat made him the second player from Honduras to debut in the majors.

“First. Gerald Young don’t count,” he corrects about Young, who was born but not raised in Honduras. “… I love it. I love the spotlight. You go back and ask who the first one is, they say it’s me.”

The spotlight lasted two at-bats with the Brewers. He heard the rumors that the Giants front office was intrigued in the multi-dimensional contact hitter, who also has played some outfield in addition to second and third. The interest was mutual.

July 31 came and Dubon went home again, in exchange for Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black. There are those thrown, shocked, upset at getting dealt. He is not among them.

“Not at all. The first time I got traded, it was like going to a new school,” the 25-year-old said. “This time it felt good — good team, good organization with the Giants.”

Back to a host family in Sacramento until Tuesday, when he got the call. He can wear the same uniform he once did as a fan.

Perhaps this is the last trade in a life of them.