Edinson Volquez will be aiming to pitch the Kansas City Royals to baseball World Series glory on Sunday night having returned to action following his father’s funeral.
Volquez’s father Daniel died on Tuesday and Edinson made the sad journey home to his native Dominican Republic for the funeral.
He missed Saturday night’s 5-3 Game Four win over the New York Mets, but he will be back on the mound for Sunday’s potential clincher.
Volquez says his father will be in his thoughts throughout the game, with the Royals holding a 3.-1 series lead and on the brink of winning the World Series in the Big Apple.
"I'm pretty sure my dad is going to be proud of me when I pitch," Volquez said following Kansas City's win over the Mets on Saturday.
Volquez had taken the mound last Tuesday as the American League champions' Game One starter, unaware that his father had died from heart failure at the age of 63 back home in the Dominican Republic.
The 32-year-old pitcher was only told of his father's death by his wife after he came out of the game.
"I think that was the best way to tell me because I didn't even know," he said.
"If my wife told me before that, I don't even know if I'm going to be able to pitch. She decided to tell me later."
Volquez pitched well, giving up three runs in six innings in a game that lasted 14 innings before the Royals prevailed.
The right-hander said he was would write his father's name inside his cap or glove for inspiration.
"He was everything for me. I remember he bought me my first glove and my first spikes, brought me to the field," Volquez said.
"He knew that's what I want to be, I wanted to be a baseball player.
"I wish he could be here right now and enjoy every game that I pitch."
Fellow Royals pitcher Chris Young, who started Saturday's Game Four, lost his father in September on the day before his first start for Kansas City in two months.
Young threw five no-hit innings that day and said he felt his father's spirit was with him.
The 36-year-old Young, who notched the Game One win in relief, said he would have some words of comfort and advice for Volquez if he asked him what to expect on the mound.
"Just go out and focus on making one pitch at a time and knowing that his dad is with him at all times," said Young.
"His dad is watching from a different view point and enjoying every minute of his success and I have no doubt he'll come out and be great."