After his disastrous outing Friday, the Padres designated the right-handed pitcher for assignment, preparing to cut ties with the 30-year-old Dominican after two wildly inconsistent seasons.
Volquez, the team's Opening Day pitcher, fell to 9-10 and his earned run average jumped to 6.01 (second-worst in the majors) when he failed to make it out of the first inning Friday against the Cubs, giving up six runs in two-thirds of an inning, leaving to a chorus of boos.
Acquired by the Padres as part of five-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2011 (the Reds got pitcher Mat Latos), Volquez went 20-21 as a Padre. He went 17-6 for the Reds in 2008, but hasn't thrown consistently well since. He led the National League in walks in 2012, and his penchant for free passes made it difficult for him to pitch deep into games.
At times, Volquez could look like a staff ace. He led the team with 174 strikeouts in 2012 and nearly pitched the Padres' first no-hitter.
That's what makes Volquez so maddening, leading to the Padres' decision. Volquez can be claimed off waivers or traded in the next 10 days, or he will become a free agent. No doubt, a team fighting for a playoff spot will give him a try.
"Volkie is a terrific guy," General Manager Josh Byrnes told the media. "He did everything he could. It's frustrating he couldn't find the consistency. He forced our hand ... I don't know what got him so far off track."
Manager Bud Black, who has had good luck reforming errant pitchers, said, "It wouldn't surprise me at all if Volquez is on another team in a few days. The frustrating part ... is that the talent is there. It was the uneven performances."
It is unclear who will take Volquez's spot in the rotation as the Padres battle for third place in the NL West.