SURPRISE, Ariz. -- All spring long, the decision about the Opening Day starter for the Royals appeared to be between Edinson Volquez and Yordano Ventura.Ventura started Opening Day in 2015. Volquez emerged as Kansas City's true ace in 2015, starting Games 1 and 5 of the World Series.Royals manager Ned
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- All spring long, the decision about the Opening Day starter for the Royals appeared to be between Edinson Volquez and Yordano Ventura.
Ventura started Opening Day in 2015. Volquez emerged as Kansas City's true ace in 2015, starting Games 1 and 5 of the World Series.
Royals manager Ned Yost waited until last weekend to announce his starter, but he had been leaning toward Volquez all along.
:: 2016 Opening Day coverage ::
"He's been the heart of our staff," Yost said. "He's a guy who has deserved it."
Volquez joined Kansas City last season on a two-year deal and emerged as the ace with a 13-9 record and a 3.55 ERA. He surpassed the magical 200-inning mark, then threw 28 2/3 more innings in the playoffs and helped the Royals win their first World Series championship in 30 years.
"It was pretty special," Volquez said. "But it was a special group of guys. We all pulled for each other."
Volquez had maintained all offseason that he'd rather not pitch the opener, preferring, he said, to sit back and enjoy the ceremonies surrounding Opening Night against the Mets at 7:37 p.m. CT.
But when Yost informed Volquez that he'd be starting the opener, he was gracious.
"It's an honor," Volquez said. "It's an honor for any pitcher to be named the starter for that."
As it turns out, Volquez will be part of history -- the first time two starting pitchers from the final game of a World Series will face off in the following season's opener.
"Pretty crazy, huh?" Volquez said, laughing. "But it should be a great game."
There might even be a little added drama: A story emerged earlier this week that the Royals allegedly were planning some sort of retribution for the Game 3 incident in which Mets starter Noah Syndergaard unleashed a fastball near leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar's head on the game's first pitch.
Kansas City's players laughed at the notion they are planning any retaliation. Volquez mostly was unaware of the incident: At the time, he was back home in the Dominican Republic, where he had attended his father's funeral.
"I don't know much about it," Volquez said. "I wasn't even there. I think [Mike Moustakas] told me about it when I got back."
Volquez said he certainly isn't planning any retribution.
"I'm too old for that," he said, laughing. "Too early in the season to get in trouble."
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.