Edinson Volquez re-emerged from oblivion the other day. He pitched a scoreless inning in a meaningless loss to Seattle at home.
The inning he pitched was anything but meaningless. September is will mean the world to him.
Volquez was part of the Tommy John Trio that included fellow surgery patients Drew Smyly and Shelby Miller, who were supposed to anchor three-fifths of the Rangers rotation.
Anchor is the operative word here. They sank like a rock. Volquez due to injury. Smyly and Miller due to being Smyly and Miller.
Edinson Volquez was actually signed before the 2018 season with the Rangers knowing full well he wasn’t going to pitch last year, he was going to rehab from TJ. The thought was he would be ready to go for 2019.
He was. Until he wasn’t. He started the second game of the season and gave up four runs in four innings. The Rangers eventually came back and won that game.
His next start, he came out after three-and-two-thirds innings and two earned runs with pain in his elbow.
That was April 4.
He could have hung it up then but he wanted to go out on his own terms. He wanted to come back one more time and prove he could do it.
And he did.
Almost five months after injury derailed his comeback, he is making yet another one. Only now, as a reliever.
He pitched the seventh inning on Sunday. Faced three batters. Walked the first one. Got the second to hit into a double play. Struck out the third.
Fifteen pitches after walking onto the mound, he walked off walked off. Without the help of a staff doctor. And with his head held high.
You have to love Volquez. He could have given up the game in April. Most players in his position probably would have. But he loves the game too much and wanted that one more chance. To prove to himself.
He’s getting that chance. Nothing would be better than for him to go out on top. He told mlb.com, “I want to stay with those guys the rest of the season. They can learn something watching me pitch.”
Heart. Grit. Determination. Love of the game. Those are some pretty good lessons.
Ariel Jurado (7-10, 5.19) vs. James Paxton (11-6, 4.39)
Game time: 5:35