Mauricio Dubón recognized for stellar defense
Dubon is one of 21 Latino Gold Glove Award finalists
ARLINGTON, Texas – Mauricio Dubón made more baseball history Wednesday. The Astros’ super utility man became the first native of Honduras to be a finalist for a Rawlings Gold Glove.
Before collecting the first three-hit postseason game of his career to help the Astros’ beat the Rangers 8-5 in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, the San Pedro Sula native was recognized for his defensive excellence.
More impressively, Dubón was a finalist at two positions. Jose Altuve’s primary backup is a Gold Glove finalist as a second baseman and utility man.
Dubón stepped up as the Astros’ starting second baseman until Altuve returned from the injured list on May 19. He started 66 games at second base. Dubón, 29, also started 23 games at center, nine at shortstop, six in left field and two at first base.
Versatile Mauricio Dubón
Until this season, Dubón had never played first base in the majors. He also played third base and right field off this year. The 29-year-old notes that he takes special pride in his defense.
“I prepare myself every day to play whatever position I get to play,” he said before helping the Astros’ cut the Rangers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven Lone Star ALCS. “If I’m not playing, I think that’s the hardest day because I’ve got to prepare for seven positions.
“So I think that’s the biggest thing for me, just how I try not to make mistakes on defense. But sometimes it’s going to happen. And I think I’m more OK when I make a mistake (when) I know I prepare myself the right way than when I don’t prepare myself the right way.”
Despite playing less than half of the season at second base, his five runs saved were good enough for third best among AL second basemen.
Trying to join Biggio and Altuve
Hall of Famer Craig Biggio (1994-97) and Altuve (2015) are the only second baseman in Astros history to win a Gold Glove. No Astros utility player has won a Gold Glove.
He has blossomed into a key part of the Astros since he was acquired from the San Francisco Giants early last season. Dubon has made plenty of history in Houston. Last November he became the first Honduran to play in a World Series and the first to win one, obviously.
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“I know the people in San Francisco,” Astros manager Dusty Baker says. “The questions about (Dubón’s) defense were more on the left side of the infield, more short than second. And he told me that they thought his best position was center.
“And so it’s rare that you see a utility guy with the ability to play center and most infield positions. I’ve only known a couple of guys that can do both. There are more guys now than before because they’re mixing and matching guys, but he’s done an outstanding job for us.”
Right fielder Kyle Tucker, who won his first Gold Glove last year, and third baseman Alex Bregman were the Astros’ other Gold Glove finalists. Ten Latinos were Gold Glove finalists in the National League, and 11 were finalists in the American League.
Nolan Arenado misses out
The St. Louis Cardinals Nolan Arenado, the only third baseman in history to win Gold Gloves in his first 10 seasons, will fail to win a Gold Glove for the first time in his career.
Gabriel Moreno, David Peralta, Eddie Rosario, Carlos Santana, Alek Thomas, Fernando Tatis Jr., Jesus Luzardo, Taijuan Walker, Francisco Lindor and Ezequiel Tovar were the NL’s Latino finalists.
A year after becoming the first Mexican All-Star catcher, Kirk is trying to become the first Mexican Gold Glove catcher.
Only the Honduran, though, was a finalist in one position and as a utility guy.
“I felt I had done a pretty good job in defense,” he said. “I didn’t think I would be nominated for two. But I’m in defense so much that it’s finally getting noticed. I’m pretty happy about it.”
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