Edinson Volquez might be pitching for much more than just a baseball game.
The Kansas City Royals pitcher was getting ready to pitch Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night when news broke that his father, Daniel, had reportedly passed away. The Royals pitcher reportedly learned of the news on his way into Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.
He opted to stay on for his start. Here’s what you need to know about Volquez:
1. Volquez’s Father, Daniel, Died From Heart Disease on Tuesday
News broke that Daniel Volquez had passed away just 20 minutes before Edinson was slated to make his World Series start on Tuesday night. According to reports, Daniel was still in the Dominican Republic when he died at age 63.
Volquez was spotted warming up in the Royals bullpen ahead of the game and still started for his team in Game 1.
2. He Was Born & Raised in the Dominican Republic
Volquez was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and first started playing baseball when he was just nine or ten years old. His parents were always his biggest supporters on and off the diamond.
Volquez described growing up to the San Diego Tribune:
It was good for me because my mom and dad always took care of me. I started playing baseball when I was 9 or 10 and they took care of me. It was easy for me. I never had a job (laughs). The only thing I did was go to school and play baseball.
Volquez regularly returned home to the Dominican Republic during the offseason, usually spending four months with his family before starting Spring Training. He and his wife, Roandy, as well as their twin daughters, Eylin and Aylin, regularly went home and even visited the house he grew up in.
Volquez bought that house and it now sits unoccupied and unfurnished, but it’s his.
3. Volquez Signed With the Texas Rangers in 2001 Under the Name Julio Reyes
Volquez signed as an amateur free agent with the Texas Rangers in the Dominican Republic in 2001, the third of the “DVD” trio of Rangers pitching prospects. After spending four years in the minors, Volquez made his MLB debut in August 2005.
But while his early career was nothing too impressive, Volquez is best known for the name issues that crept on him after over the years. When he signed with the Rangers in 2001, at age 17, he went by the name Julio Reyes. However, it was eventually revealed that his name was Edinson Volquez following an immigration crackdown in 2003.
In 2007, he requested that the Rangers and an “n” to his name, Edinson, after checking his birth certificate.
4. He Was Traded to the Kansas City Royals in December 2014
After stints with the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates, Volquez was traded to the Kansas City Royals in December 2014.
Volquez signed a two-year, $20 million contract at the time, but it hasn’t been easy going for the right-hander. He was ejected for his role in a brawl during a game against the Chicago White Sox on April 23, 2015 and was suspended five games.
This season, Volquez posted a 13-9 record with a 3.55 ERA in a career-best 200.1 innings pitched.
5. Volquez Boasts Four Different Pitches in His Arsenal
Despite the up-and-down nature of his game, Volquez has found a bit of a rhythm this season and now boasts four different pitches in his arsenal; a low to mid-90s fastball, a two-seam fastball that clocks also in the low 90s, a mid-80s changeup and a mid-70s curveball.
Over the course of the postseason, Volquez has up’ed his fasthabll velocity and hist hree highest-single game averages have come during his three playoffs starts: 94.7, 95.3 and then 96.2 in his second start against the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series.
He described the change to ESPN earlier this week saying:
A lot of energy has helped me a little bit more. I think pitching in the playoffs is more exciting. And everything I pitch, everything I’ve got, that’s what I’ve got. I was throwing 97, 98 the other day. I don’t do that very often.