Volquez tabbed for opener in rematch vs. Mets

Righty will be followed by Kennedy, Ventura, Young, Medlen in KC rotation

Volquez tabbed for opener in rematch vs. Mets

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Edinson Volquez, the man who said he didn't want to start on Opening Night, was named the starter for the opener on April 3 at Kauffman Stadium against the Mets.

If Matt Harvey makes the start for New York as was originally planned, it will be a rematch of Game 5 from last year's World Series, but news surfaced on Monday that the New York ace's status was in doubt due to an undisclosed medical issue.

"It was an easy decision," manager Ned Yost said. "We weighted the year he had last year. And we thought it would be cool: When was the last time two starting pitchers pitched consecutive games?"

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Volquez didn't know he was slated to start the Opener until Saturday morning, when Yost talked to him while Volquez was having breakfast.

"How about [Yordano] Ventura?" Volquez said, jokingly. "[Yost] said, 'No, you're going to be the Opening Day guy.'

"I'm excited. It's a great honor for a pitcher to pitch the first game. Even if you don't like it, you have to do it."

This will be Volquez's fourth Opening Day start. He had said repeatedly this spring that he would rather just enjoy the ceremonies on that night and not pitch.

But the bright side for Volquez is that he will get to enjoy the ring ceremony prior to the second game of the season on April 5. Ian Kennedy, a free-agent signing over the winter, will get the start then.

After that, Ventura, who has battled the flu bug, will be third in the rotation, followed by right-handers Chris Young and Kris Medlen. Yost said he may skip Medlen the first time through the rotation because of the three off-days the first week.

"I just wanted to give Ventura an extra day," Yost said. "We built it in just in case he needed it. Not so sure he needs it. But coming back from the flu, it will help him.

"When you look at the excitement of what it's going to be on the Opener, you've also got the second game, when we get our rings. It's like another Opener. [Volquez] would rather not pitch on the day we get our rings.

"Part of it, too, is that Ian wasn't here last year, so he's taken out of the ring ceremony, and he stays focused on his game. He can get his work in before the game. It's just an easier fix."

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.