Here’s something you never hear. A player wants an injury to linger so he plays better. The Miami Marlins ace Edinson Volquez, fresh off a no-hitter and win in his last two starts, told the media the ankle injury he suffered made him play better.
As Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote, the topsy-turvy season of Volquez has a new twist, and this one is a head-scratcher. The 33-year-old has a theory on why he’s been pretty much unhittable in his last few starts — a sore ankle.
No joke, Volquez has turned a negative into a positive, claiming the ankle injury he incurred in the first inning of his no-hitter on Saturday has improved his pitching. On Thursday night, the right-hander didn’t make no-hit history, but made quick work of the Pirates in the Marlins’ 7-1 win at PNC Park.
If it works for the Miami Marlins pitcher, maybe it will work for others looking for an edge on the bump. Volquez was the prized free agent signing in the offseason for these Miami Marlins who was being asked to help fill a void created by the death of Jose Fernandez. He did not start out as an “ace” but since coming off the disables list because of a blister on his pitching thumb, he has been impressive to say the least.
Volquez was in Kansas City last year, pitching in a “hitter’s League” and still mowing down batters. Now that he appears to have made the adjustment to the National League, maybe the injury, followed by the no-no, is exactly what the Miami Marlins need to turn their season around. He was also part of the Royals’ 2015 World Series team.
On Thursday night, he looked as impressive, if not perfect on the mound. Seven shutout innings and a win – the Miami Marlins will take that all day long.
“It’s crazy, but my ankle, it keeps me under control,” Volquez said, perfectly serious. “I don’t try to do too much. It’s something with my delivery, my mechanics. I [previously] jumped to the plate. I’ve got to stay back a little bit to make sure my ankle is fine to support my weight. It keeps me more under control.”
Volquez was signed as an amateur free agent by the Texas Rangers in the Dominican Republic in 2001. Together with John Danks and Thomas Diamond, Volquez was one third of the “DVD” trio of Rangers pitching prospects.
After spending four years in the Rangers’ minor league system, Volquez made his Major League debut on August 30, 2005 in a start against the Chicago White Sox. He lost all three Major League games he started that season, as well as one of the three games in which he appeared as a reliever, and posted a 14.21 ERA.
In his career, he has also pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and then Kansas City before making his way south.
On the first play of the game he threw the no-hitter, Volquez collided with Rey Fuentes, and rolled his ankle while securing the out at first. I could have easily been removed from the game, but stuck with it and pitched a piece of history – the sixth in Miami Marlins team history.