Young returns to Royals following dad's death

Young returns to Royals following dad's death

CHICAGO -- Right-hander Chris Young returned to the Royals earlier this week after flying home to Dallas on Sunday to be with his family following the death of his father, Charles, who passed away on Saturday.

Before Thursday's game against the White Sox, Young spoke about trying, with a heavy heart, to pitch last Sunday, which he did, throwing five no-hit innings in the Royals' 3-0 win over the Indians.

"I was really trying to honor what I felt like my dad would want for me, and take the ball," Young said. "My dad played college football [at TCU] and knew the meaning of being part of a team and not letting anyone down. I felt like I had a family of baseball teammates and coaches, and an organization here depending on me. I felt like it was important to be out there."

Young said Charles, who was 70, had been battling cancer for a few years.

"But he was doing all right," Young said. "It wasn't like he was in the hospital. He just got an infection that his body couldn't fight. It happened really, really quickly."

Young got the news on Saturday, but then did what he could do to focus for his start the following day.

"I was just concentrating on one pitch at a time," he said. "It felt like my dad was there in my ear every time I lost focus and started thinking about him. I felt like there was a voice in my head saying, 'Worry about the game.' And that is what I tried to do."

Services will be on Monday. And after Young starts on Friday at Target Field, he will head back home before returning to the Royals next week for the postseason.

"It's a welcome distraction just being around the guys," Young said. "They are so uplifting. Honestly, they picked me up [on Sunday] and made some great defensive plays. They told me, 'We got you. We're winning this game. We got you.' That meant so much to me. I feel the same way now."

Young remembers his father as a sincere and selfless dad.

"He was a great man," Young said. "He was thoughtful, respectful, considerate of others. He was a family man. He put me and my sisters and my mom before him. He was selfless.

"He encouraged me to do whatever made me happy. He may have instilled my love of baseball in me because that might have been his first love. My first memories are going to the park with him and him pitching to me and playing catch. I do the same now with my son, and I see the joy and passion it brings."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.