Mike Yastrzemski was far from alone in viewing the Giants’ trip to Fenway Park as a landmark event. For San Francisco infielder Mauricio Dubon, the chance to play in Boston likewise represented the fulfillment of an improbable journey.
Dubon is a native of Honduras who moved to the United States in high school to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball. The Red Sox drafted him in the 26th round in 2013. He entered the system without any prospect profile, with his then-rookie ball manager, Darren Fenster, once noting that he was initially a backup infielder at the lowest rung of the minor league ladder.
But Dubon steadily emerged in the Red Sox system — not just as a skilled player, but also as a revered team leader. As a 20-year-old with Single A Greenville in 2015, he not only gained prospect steam but also served as a big brother/extension of the coaching staff with fellow infielders Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, and Michael Chavis.
“We lived together in Greenville and Salem,” said Devers. “I didn’t speak English in Greenville. He tried to make it comfortable for me.”
“He helped me a lot, without a doubt, and I know that same year he helped Moncada,” said Chavis. “As close as Devers and I are, I think part of that is because of Dubon being able to open us up . . . He played a really big role.”
Dubon emerged as a prospect on the field and helped many others off it. But in December 2016, in what will go down as the worst trade made by Dave Dombrowski in Boston, Dubon was dealt (along with Travis Shaw and two other minor leaguers) to the Brewers for Tyler Thornburg.
Dubon wasn’t surprised. He figured that with Xander Bogaerts (a close friend with whom he roomed in spring training) at short and Dustin Pedroia at second, his days with the Sox were numbered.
“[The Red Sox] did it for a reason. They thought the other guy was going to be a big help. I was watching posts from fans and everything saying how they felt about me. That felt good. That felt really good, letting me know that people cared,” said Dubon. “But I was expecting that [a trade] was going to happen at some point.
“When you get drafted, you think you’re going to be with your team for the rest of your life. That doesn’t happen. It was crazy at the time, but it is what it is. It’s a blessing.”
Dubon made his big league debut in July with the Brewers — thus becoming the first born-and-raised Honduran ever to reach the big leagues — before getting dealt to the Giants at the deadline for lefty Drew Pomeranz. Though he’d been to Fenway on occasion while a Red Sox minor leaguer, his visit to Boston as a big leaguer Tuesday represented a milestone.
“It was a lot better walking in here as a big leaguer than coming in ’14 with the Lowell Spinners,” he joked.
Yet the return also allowed Dubon to appreciate what it meant to play with several talented young Red Sox, and his time in Boston’s farm system.
“They won the World Series. It’s crazy the amount of stuff they accomplished,” Dubon said of his former teammates. “That they looked at me [as a leader] was really special. Now that I look back, it’s helped me get all the way here.”
Beyond Yastrzemski and Dubon, several members of the Giants with Red Sox or New England ties relished the visit. Chris Shaw, who was in the lineup as a designated hitter, was a graduate of Lexington High and was taken in the first round of the 2015 draft out of Boston College.
“This is as excited as I’ve ever been. This is probably even a little more special than my debut,” said Shaw, who recalled the Red Sox’ pennant-clinching win over the Tigers in Game 6 of the 2013 ALCS as his favorite memory of Fenway as a spectator.
“When you’re in elementary school and you’re asked what you want to be when you grow up, probably 80 percent of my class said, ‘Play for the Red Sox.’ To be here, play at Fenway Park, be in the lineup, it’s just crazy for me, really.”
Righthander Tyler Beede, a 2011 graduate of the Lawrence Academy, is also on the Giants roster, as is righthander Shaun Anderson, a 2016 third-round pick by the Red Sox who was dealt to San Francisco in 2017 for Eduardo Nunez.
“It was cool to see that [Nunez] made an impact [during the 2018 World Series],” said Anderson.
“Hopefully I can make an impact for this team to make it a good trade.”
Former Sox lefty Javy Lopez, now a part of the Giants’ radio broadcast team, Worcester native J.P. Ricciardi, now a special adviser to Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, and Roxbury Latin grad and former Red Sox minor leaguer Jack McGeary, now a baseball operations analyst for the Giants, were also on the trip.
Stay off his feet
Mookie Betts was out of the Red Sox lineup for a third straight game because of discomfort in his left foot. The leadoff hitter underwent an MRI on Monday that showed what he described as inflammation in the foot.
“Just gotta give it a little time to get out of there,” said Betts, who is hitting .293/.391/.527 with 28 homers for the year and .335/.404/622 with 15 homers since the start of July. “I definitely want to get back out there and play. So when the timing is right, I’ll be back out there.”
Manager Alex Cora said that if Betts is available to play in the upcoming weekend series against the Rays, he would do so as a designated hitter rather than playing outfield on the Tropicana turf.
David Price, who has made one start since Aug. 4 while dealing with a left wrist cyst, appears increasingly unlikely to pitch again this year. Cora said Price continues to experience discomfort when throwing his changeup and cutter. Surgery to remove the cyst is a possibility. “We’re running out of time,” Cora said regarding the idea of Price returning to games. “We’ll see what we’re going to do . . . Obviously everything that can benefit him will be great for the organization.” . . . Heath Hembree, on the injured list since Aug. 2, threw a bullpen session Tuesday. He is expected to throw a simulated game in the coming days, and if that goes well, the righthander could be activated for the series in Texas next week . . . Chavis took batting practice off a high-velocity pitching machine, his first time taking on-field batting practice since a late-August oblique strain. He could be activated as soon as this weekend in Tampa Bay.