In turning Mauricio Dubon from a middle infielder to a super utility player, the hope all along has been there will always be somewhere to play. Shortstop and second base? Check. Center field? Sure. Perhaps third base and a corner outfield spot in the future? He’s athletic enough.
A problem the Giants did not plan on having was a shortstop, second baseman and a center fielder who really can’t be taken out of the lineup.
A problem the Giants did not want to have was a struggling Dubon whose bat is not screaming for the team to find another avenue toward penciling his name into lineups.
With San Francisco having committed a majors-worst 16 errors, Brandon Crawford’s glove is immense, especially considering the mixups that have occurred without him on the field. Donovan Solano would be in the discussion for the hottest hitter in all of baseball if Mike Yastrzemski made sure he didn’t even hold that title on his own team.
For Wednesday’s game at Coors Field, Solano was moved to third base, Wilmer Flores getting the start at second — another slugger who has made it clear he should be in the lineup every day.
Where does this leave Dubon a day prior to the Giants needing to trim their roster from 30 to 28?
“Oftentimes the reason a player isn’t in the lineup, isn’t getting reps that they desperately want, it’s not always in a vacuum about their ability,” Gabe Kapler said over Zoom before the game, the Giants having lost the first two of a four-game series. “It’s oftentimes … that there’s a lot of other people who have a high level of ability as well.”
“It’s really difficult to not have Donovan Solano in the lineup,” Kapler added. Yastrzemski “needs to be in the lineup as well.” This does not hold true for Dubon, who is slashing .240/.269/.280 in 26 plate appearances. He was held out of the lineup for three straight games, played Tuesday and was back on the bench Wednesday.
The Giants will have two decisions to make to pare down the roster, and one may involve their valued Swiss army knife, who has been trying to establish himself as a regular major leaguer after debuting last year.
On Tuesday, Kapler called his three-game pause a “mental reset.” Yet, there might just not be a spot for Dubon, of which the manager did not want to speculate.
“We got a game to play tonight, and with respect to that, we really have to see how the game shakes out” before the Giants ponder roster decisions, Kapler said.
Also in that mix of potential roster victims is Pablo Sandoval, the Panda struggling at the plate to start the year. Kapler found signs of life in three hard-hit balls Tuesday, and Sandoval was back in Wednesday’s lineup.
“Really crushed some balls and crushed them on the ground,” Kapler said of Sandoval, slashing .115/.200/.115 in 30 plate appearances. “And ultimately, in a perfect world you’re able to elevate the balls that you hit the hardest, and when he’s at his best that’s exactly what he’s doing.
“But what we’ve seen with Pablo has been a slow progression towards his good swing. Still feel like he’s as threatening as anybody coming off the bench.”
Trevor Cahill (right index fingernail injury) will throw three innings in a simulated game in the “next few days,” Kapler said.