Chen appreciates Jeter's impact on game
Retiring shortstop to make final visit to Kauffman Stadium from June 6-8
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Maybe Bruce Chen and other Royals pitchers won't miss facing Derek Jeter when they're on the mound, but they'll miss witnessing the great Yankee's contributions to the game.
Jeter, who announced on Wednesday that 2014 will be his last season, usually ran the Royals ragged. In his career, he's hit .328 in 131 games against them, with a .399 on-base percentage.
Over the years, Jeter has hit a robust .429 (18-for-42) with four home runs and three doubles against Chen.
"He's very tough, even though sometimes he was hitting leadoff or second, he has good power and is the best inside-out hitter I've ever seen. He's just tough," Chen said.
Jeter, who has a .312 career average, has hit .315 against the pitchers currently on the Royals' roster. He's faced James Shields most often, going 25-for-85 (.294) against him.
But he's hit Chen the best.
"He's a very well respected Major Leaguer and is one of those guys who plays very hard and plays for a very good team that has won a lot of championships," Chen said. "Like Mariano [Rivera], he's announced he's going to retire before the season starts and I'm expecting a big tour when he goes through every single stadium, too, because of all the things he has done for baseball."
The Yankees make their only visit to Kansas City on the weekend of June 6-8.
"He's one of those guys who never took anything for granted and played the game hard. He's a great leader for the New York Yankees," Chen said.
"I'm very glad I was able to play against one of the best players in the history of the game."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.