As he played on Sunday afternoon, less than a day removed from learning about his father’s death, Royals pitcher Chris Young operated with an extra voice in his ear. He believed it belonged to his father, Charles, who was 70.
“Every time that I lost focus or started thinking about him or the situation,” Young said before Thursday’s game against the White Sox, “I felt like there was a voice in my head that said ‘Concentrate. Worry about you. Focus on the game.’”
Young responded with five no-hit innings in his first start in two months. He left the game and returned to Texas to be with his family. His father had been battling cancer for years, but a sudden infection overtook him last Saturday evening.
Young rejoined the Royals on Wednesday. He will start on Friday. He is a candidate to be the team’s fourth starter in October. After the game on Friday, Young will spend the weekend with his family in Highland Park, Texas. The service for Charles Young will be Monday, Young said.
Young called the chance to play baseball this week a “welcome distraction.” He thanked his teammates for their compassion and support.
“Honestly, they picked me up the other day,” Young said. “They made some great defensive plays. They told me, ‘We got you today. We’re winning this game. We got you.’ It meant so much to me.”