Opinion

Bruce Chen returns to KC to pick up his AL championship ring

Former Royal Bruce Chen gives a fist pump to Royals manager Ned Yost last month before a spring training game in Goodyear, Ariz.
Former Royal Bruce Chen gives a fist pump to Royals manager Ned Yost last month before a spring training game in Goodyear, Ariz. The Kansas City Star

Veteran lefthander Bruce Chen was among the former Royals on hand for Monday’s opening day as the club doled out the goodies from last year’s postseason run. He received his 2014 American League championship ring along with the rest of the players and staff from last season’s team.

“It’s a great moment,” Chen said. “I got invited to be back, I’m receiving a ring for the American League champions and I got to see all my teammates. I’m very proud of everything my teammates accomplished last year and proud that I was a part of it, too.”

Chen, 37, who will start the year with the Cleveland Indians’ Class AAA affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, was released on Sept. 5 right before the Royals’ playoff push.

Every player who spent time on the Royals’ major-league roster last season received an American League championship ring.

Chen played six years for the Royals, going 47-43 in 156 games with a 4.53 ERA during that span.

“I’ve always been treated very nice here, and I’m very glad that they thought of me and invited to come back,” Chen said.

Chen, who broke into the big leagues with Atlanta in 1998, spent time with nine teams between 1998-2007 and never played more than three seasons with an organization at any stop before his arrival in Kansas City.

“It does feel like home,” Chen said. “And it feels like I’ve never left. I feel like I’m from here, and my wife’s from here. She was staying at her parents’ house last night, so it does feel great to be here.”

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.

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