Between now and the new year, MLB.com will be revisiting the top stories of 2017. Up next is Edinson Volquez's no-hitter.MIAMI -- More than pitching was on Edinson Volquez's mind when he took the mound for the Marlins on June 3 against the D-backs.The usually happy-go-lucky Volquez carried a heavy
Between now and the new year, MLB.com will be revisiting the top stories of 2017. Up next is Edinson Volquez's no-hitter.
MIAMI -- More than pitching was on Edinson Volquez's mind when he took the mound for the Marlins on June 3 against the D-backs.
The usually happy-go-lucky Volquez carried a heavy heart and a ton of emotion with him to Marlins Park. And pitching with a purpose, the veteran right-hander threw the only no-hitter of the 2017 MLB season.
Miami won, 3-0, and Volquez captured the imagination of the sports world, dedicating the performance to the memories of Yordano Ventura and Jose Fernandez, two of the game's most talented young starters who died tragically just four months apart.
If fate indeed is real, it certainly was with Volquez that afternoon, because June 3 would have been Ventura's 26th birthday. The two were previously teammates in Kansas City.
Ventura was killed in an auto accident in the Dominican Republic in January.
In the morning, Volquez posted on Instagram a photo of himself with Ventura when the two were Royals. He wrote how he missed his "brother."
Further fueling emotion into the afternoon was the fact Volquez threw the second no-hitter at Marlins Park on the mound where Fernandez was so dominant before his death in a boating accident in September 2016.
"This was for Ventura and Jose," Volquez said after tossing the sixth no-hitter in Marlins history. "Everybody loved Jose. I can say that's for him, too. I really appreciate what he did here and people loved him. I'm really blessed to throw a no-hitter on his bump."
The no-hitter was the highlight of Volquez's season and one of MLB's top stories of 2017.
"This means a lot," Volquez said. "I was pretty close to [Ventura]. To do something like I did, that's really special for me to dedicate the game to him. It was one of those days you wake up and don't really know what's going to happen. Next thing you know, you have a no-hitter."
The right-hander brought a smile and positive energy to the ballpark every day, even when he was laboring. Even after losing his first seven decisions, Volquez was always upbeat. He picked up his first win just six days before making history against Arizona.
The twist to the day was the fact Volquez overcame adversity after facing just one batter.
Rey Fuentes led off by hitting a grounder down the line. First baseman Justin Bour made a nice play, and on his throw to first base for the out, Volquez tangled with Fuentes. The collision shook up Volquez, and there was a fear he would have to exit after one batter.
The rest of the way, Volquez pitched on a sore right ankle and still managed to strike out 10 while facing the minimum.
Volquez's no-hitter brought out the emotions in Miami and Kansas City.
Rene Francisco, the Royals' assistant general manager of international operations, helped sign Ventura and is close to Volquez as well.
"Very special for Eddie, especially on Yordano's birthday," Francisco told MLB.com. "I'm sure that Eddie had Yordano on his mind once he was tasting the no-hitter. What a day for the Royals family."
Expected to miss most -- if not all -- of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August, the 34-year-old Volquez was designated for assignment during the Winter Meetings. The Marlins have offered the right-hander the opportunity to sign a Minor League contract so he can continue his rehab program.
Volquez had just 17 starts on the season, going 4-8 with a 4.19 ERA. The one everyone will remember, however, is part of MLB history.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.