After victories, especially big ones in the postseason, like the World Series opener against the Mets, the Royals engage in some loud clubhouse antics.
That wasn’t the case after their 5-4, 14-inning victory that ended early Wednesday morning.
“It was a little somber, knowing what Eddie and his family are going through that loss,” second baseman Ben Zobrist said.
Those who didn’t know that the father of starting pitcher Edinson Volquez had died earlier in the day learned then.
Wednesday, the Royals prepared for Game 2 against the Mets without Volquez, who had returned to the Dominican Republic for the funeral of his father, Daniel, who had died at age 63.
Royals manager Ned Yost said Volquez’s wife, Roandry, informed general manager Dayton Moore a couple of hours before the game.
“We said, ‘Look, it’s up to you guys, this is more important than a baseball game,’” Moore said.
Roandry Volquez called Edinson’s mother and they decided to not inform him until he was finished pitching.
At that point, Moore told Yost and described the situation in a meeting with coaches Dave Eiland, Don Wakamatsu and Pedro Grifol and the group put together a contingency plan. Chris Young was told to be ready in case Volquez decided not to pitch.
“My gut feeling was he was going to go out and pitch because there was nothing he could do,” Moore said.
When Volquez had completed his evening, leaving the game with the Royals tied 3-3 after six innings, he went to Yost’s office, where Roandry and other family members were waiting.
ESPN reported Volquez was aware his father had died when he arrived at Kauffman Stadium, but Royals officials said that was not the case and Yost said he was respecting the family’s wishes by not telling Volquez about his father.
Volquez was gone by the time the Royals had completed the extra-inning victory. He flew to the Dominican Republic to bury his father.
Yost said the last thing Volquez said to the players was “I’ll see you in New York.”
Volquez is in line to start Game 5, which would be Sunday.
Young pitched the final three innings, throwing 53 pitches, and collected the victory. He remains in line to be the Game 4 starter.
“Our plan for Chris was that if we needed him we would use him 45 to 50 pitches and he would still be available in Game 4,” Yost said. “It would be just like a short start and then coming back a day early. He hadn’t pitched in six days.”