MIAMI (AP) – Edinson Volquez admits he was "tired" toward the second half of last season. That attributed to his bloated 5.37 ERA, he said.
The 33-year-old right-hander, fresh off completing his $22 million, two-year contract with the Miami Marlins, assured everyone Friday that he is now rested and ready to go.
"I pitched a lot of innings the year before," Volquez said in Spanish, referring to the 200 1/3 innings he threw for the World Series champion Kansas City Royals in 2015, when he went 13-9 with a 3.55 ERA. "By June and July (of 2016), I was tired."
Volquez, who has made more than 30 starts in each of the past four years, was 10-11 last season.
Volquez gets $9 million next season and $13 million in 2018. He joins a rotation shaken by the loss of ace Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident a week before the end of the regular season in September.
"It's hard to believe," Volquez said. "I was with the Royals when it happened. A lot of us were crying.
"My dad passed away in 2015, so I know what his family is going through," he said.
Volquez said he doesn't view himself as a replacement for Fernandez in the Marlins' rotation.
"Jose's death was a sad moment for MLB," he said. "He was a great pitcher, and he was only 24. But I don't want to be Jose. I want to be me."
An All-Star in 2008 with Cincinnati, Volquez is 89-79 in 12 major league seasons. He became a free agent this month when he declined his mutual option with the Royals.
Volquez said he has lived in Miami for three years, and he told his agent that becoming a member of the Marlins was his top priority in free agency.
"I've liked the Marlins team for a long time," Volquez said. "I know a lot of the guys here like Martin Prado, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. Fitting in to this clubhouse won't be a problem."
Marlins general manager Michael Hill said he was "excited" to get Volquez.
"He's a World Series champion and an All-Star," Hill said. "He will fit in perfectly with our inventory. But we are not done yet. We want to add to our pitching depth."
Volquez, a native of the Dominican Republic, should also be a good fit in the Miami community with its large Hispanic population.
Marlins Park was another fit, Volquez said.
"I love this park," Volquez said with a huge smile. "It's a big ballpark, and that's important for me, especially as I get older."