Wade Davis pitches (and wins) with a heavy heart, but teammates and getting to work help him ease back
By JEFFREY FLANAGANFS Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. --Royals right-hander Wade Davis wasn't sure how he'd feel once he returned to the mound after being away from the team for over a week.
Davis was away on bereavement leave, grieving the loss of his stepbrother, Dustin Huguley, 25, who passed away unexpectedly Aug. 3 in Florida.
Davis did not speak of his personal loss, though manager Ned Yost had indicated earlier that Davis and Huguley were very close and grew up together as best friends.
Davis came back Monday after missing a start and pitched soundly against the
Miami Marlins, going six innings in a 6-2 Royals win.
"I thought Wade pitched great," Yost said. "He had good stuff and kept us in the game."
Davis, though, who is always soft-spoken and reticent to talk about himself, couldn't exactly put into words what his emotions were.
"Honestly, I don't know," he said, almost whispering. "I just felt like I was out there. Wasn't much more than that."
Physically, Davis said he did feel a bit fatigued near the end of his 94-pitch night.
"I felt OK," he said. "I was a little tired at the end because of the layoff, but it all worked out."
And Davis' voice did rise a bit when asked about the support he has received from the Royals during his trying time.
"They've been great," he said. "Everyone in the organization has been great. It feels like a family in here, so it's good to have support."
And as is often the case, getting back to work is the best therapy.
"It's good to get out there," he said. "It's good to be back with the team.
"I played catch a little bit when I was gone. That's about all."
While away, Davis did follow his teammates as they continued their amazing run that now has them in sole possession of second place in the American League Central, just 6 1/2 games behind the Tigers.
"The couple of games that I saw, the fans were great," he said. "It seems everyone is really picking it up around here."
Davis lasted six innings, allowing six hits while walking two and striking out three. He was betrayed a bit at times by his defense -- center fielder Jarrod Dyson committed a two-base error that led to the first run, and right fielder Justin Maxwell misplayed a fly ball that was scored a double, as well as another ball that shot into the corner.
But left fielder David Lough had an outfield assist, and the offense broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the sixth inning, enabling Davis to get his sixth win.
"It was nice to be able to get him some runs," designated hitter Billy Butler said. "We're all pulling for each other in here."
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.