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Dubón shares how Baker's trust helped him thrive after Giants tenure

Dubón shares how Baker's trust helped him thrive after Giants tenure originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Mauricio Dubón's time with the Giants didn't end on the best of terms, but one World Series ring and a Gold Glove later, the Houston Astros utilityman has plenty of perspective on his time in the Bay.

After his first time facing San Francisco following the May 2022 trade that sent him to Houston, Dubón followed up his game-winning performance with a shot at then-Giants manager Gabe Kapler, telling reporters that his teammates knew "what it meant to me to beat these guys" and adding that in San Francisco he "was not treated the right way."

"You'd think I would probably get more playing time," Dubón said after the May 1, 2023, game when asked to elaborate. "With [then-Astros manager] Dusty [Baker] here now, I'm in heaven."

While it initially was believed Dubón was commenting on the Giants organization as a whole, he later clarified he was only talking about the team's management. Now, with the Astros facing the Giants in a three-game series at Oracle Park this week, Dubón expanded on his time playing for Kapler and how Baker helped him thrive in Houston.

"Like I said before, it was funny just because all the guys knew what I was talking about," Dubón told KNBR's "Papa & Lund" on Tuesday, the day after the Giants walked off the Astros in extras at Oracle Park. "All the guys knew what was going on and everything ... Everything came out the wrong way, honestly. I went home and looked at it and was like, 'Ah, I need to clarify that.' And yeah, I mean, it was tough. It was tough, and I've never had a problem with the organization or the fans, even after all the mistakes that I made -- baserunning, fielding, everything.

"I was treated the right way by some people, except for the people making the decisions."

Of course, things look different for both the Giants and Astros these days. San Francisco fired Kapler after the 2023 MLB season, replacing him with Bob Melvin, and Baker now is back with the Giants as a special assistant. Dubón credits Baker's faith in him for his breakout with the Astros, where he continues to play a key role under manager Joe Espada.

"It's crazy -- Dusty gave me a chance to go out there and go play my game, and not worry about anything," Dubón said. "He gave me the trust of just going out there and showing people what I can do, and I think that was what was lacking [in San Francisco] when the guy was making the decisions ... It's different when you have managers who support people."

Dubón pointed to Giants outfielder Heliot Ramos as a prime example of what a little bit of trust can do for a player. Ramos has received a real shot at proving himself under Melvin and is thriving, with the potential to become an MLB All-Star this season.

"It's very important when you have that kind of backup, when the manager has your back and everything, and I think that was the biggest difference with me going to Houston," Dubón said. "Dusty gave me that trust, and I think that helped me the most."

Trust is key -- and, ironically enough, the Giants' walk-off win displayed just that Monday night as Austin Slater got the game-winning hit against the Astros after plenty of early-season struggles. Melvin's faith in the longest-tenured Giants paid off, and Dubón has experienced a similar feeling in Houston.

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