While Edinson Volquez was in the Royals bullpen Tuesday night warming up for his start in Game 1 of the World Series, sad news emerged about his family.
Volquez’s father, Daniel, died earlier in the day at age 63 in the Dominican Republic. Citing conversations with family, ESPN Deportes reported that Volquez learned about his father’s death as he drove to the park on Tuesday. But Royals officials said Volquez learned about the death of his father after he left the game.
In the afternoon, Royals manager Ned Yost said after the game, general manager Dayton Moore received a phone call from Volquez family. The request, as it came to Yost, was: “Don’t tell Eddie; let him go out and pitch Game 1 of the World Series.”
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Moore and Yost conferred with catching coach Pedro Grifol and bench coach Don Wakamatsu on how to handle the situation.
“We just decided that we were going to honor the family’s wishes,” Yost said after the game, adding “I love Eddie Volquez. And if his family asked me to do something, I’m going to do it.
“You just do what the family asks you to do, and it was real special to them that Eddy goes out and pitches this game.”
Even so, about an hour before the game, Yost approached Chris Young, who needed to be ready to pitch in case Volquez was unable to start. But Volquez continued his usual routine, pitching six innings and allowing three runs, taking a no-decision in the Royals’ eventual 5-4 win in extra innings.
After the sixth, Yost informed Volquez he was done. Volquez finished with a quality start, but he wanted to pitch longer. Yost considered telling Volquez he should call his wife. Instead, he let Volquez walk back to the clubhouse, where family members were waiting. The team opened up Yost’s office to give the Volquez family some privacy.
No information has been released about funeral plans for Daniel Volquez, whom Volquez called “Danio” during an interview with The Star in the summer. The Associated Press reported Daniel Volquez had heart disease.
Volquez’s path here from the Dominican Republic began with his father, a mechanic, buying him his first glove, the model of countryman Pedro Martinez — a poster of whom became the first thing Volquez saw every day when he woke up in his room.
Soon, Volquez’s father would tape every Martinez outing he could for his son to watch on their black-and-white television, helping him try to emulate Martinez down to every twitch.
It was the third time in 12 weeks that a parent of a Royals player had died. Mike Moustakas’ mother, Connie, died Aug. 9, while Chris Young’s father, Charles, died Sept. 26, a day before he was scheduled to pitch.
Both players remained with the team and played, as did Volquez.
“It’s something you don’t want to hear,” Moustakas said, “For all the stuff that’s happened this year, to all of our parents … it has to bring you closer together.”
Young pitched the final three innings of Tuesday’s game in relief, earning the victory.
“I’m not sure if Eddy knew or not, but regardless I know the pain he’s going through right now,” Young said.
After the game, shortstop Alcides Escobar said a few Royals received a text from Volquez that read: “Thank you guys for winning, for me, and for my family.”
The news had been imparted by the time left-hander Danny Duffy came into the clubhouse after his own stint in the seventh.
He approached Volquez and said, “Great job.”
Then he saw how downcast Volquez was and heard what Duffy called “the terrible, terrible news.”
Duffy hugged him and told him he’d do anything he can for him.
“He's going to be missed for the next couple of days,” he said. “Whenever he decides to come back, we'll be here waiting for him with open arms.”
The Star's Andy McCullough and Vahe Gregorian contributed to this report