Edinson Volquez isn’t retiring after all. He is pitching out of the Rangers bullpen. In past years, that’s the next closest thing.
Volquez was informed yesterday that he has made the team and will be on the opening day roster.
Last year, he was in the Rangers starting rotation, and nobody not named Jon Daniels thought that was a good idea. After missing the entire 2018 season and most of 2017, Ranger-logic assumed he could be the number-two starter. Number-two is an apt description of the Rangers 2019 rotation.
Volquez lasted two games as a starter—a total of 7.2 innings, allowing six earned runs for an ERA of 7.04—before he was injured. (Incidentally, the Rangers won both of his starts.) Expecting to be gone for good, four months later, Volquez came back and pitched out of the bullpen.
He talked about retiring, as any 37-year-old injured pitcher with an ERA of 6.75 would. Funny thing, though, he actually pitched well as a reliever. But only when he came in after the first.
Twice in his nine post-injury starts he was called on to be the opener. That didn’t work. He gave up two runs in the first in one game, four runs in the first in the other. But the other seven times he was called in in a traditional reliever role, he didn’t surrender a run.
After the season, he talked of walking away from it. He had proven his point. And, during the pandemic shutdown, he talked about retiring.
But the fire was still in him and he decided to give it one more shot. Yesterday, that effort was rewarded when Rangers manager Chris Woodward informed the veteran right-hander that he had made the team.
Volquez joins other righties Nick Goody, Jesse Chavez, Jonathan Hernandez, Luke Ferrel, and Jose Leclerc in the Rangers pen.
The Rangers are allowed to have thirty-players on the roster for the first two weeks of the season, then twenty-eight for another two weeks. Twenty-six for the final month.
It will be interesting to see if Volquez makes it past the cuts. But even if he doesn’t, he has already done more for the Rangers than any other pitcher in club history.
He was the guy traded for Josh Hamilton.