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Bruce Chen

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Bruce Kastulo Chen

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 215 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Bruce Chen earned his first big league victory on September 12, 1998. That season, he was named the Pitcher of the Year in the AA Southern League after going 13-7, 3.29 with 164 strikeouts for the Greenville Braves. Signed at age 16, Chen went 1-4 in nine games, with 26 strikeouts and only 3 walks in 1994, with the GCL Braves. In 1997, Chen posted a 12-7 record with 182 strikeouts in 146 innings with the Macon Braves to lead the South Atlantic League in strikeouts.

In spite of his outstanding minor league record, Chen never was able to pitch well in the majors for more than short stretches until his mid-30s. However, his electric stuff and occasional tantalizing outings meant that there was always a team willing to give him another chance. He pitched for nine major league teams and played with one more organization from 1998 to 2008. He seemed to finally put it all together in 2005, when he went 13-10, 3.83, with 133 strikeouts as a member of the Baltimore Orioles' starting rotation. This came after a successful 8-game tryout in late 2004 in which he put up a 3.03 ERA following a solid season with the AAA Ottawa Lynx. Everything came crashing down in 2006 however, as his 0-7, 6.93, mark attests.

Chen started one of Panama's two games in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and held Puerto Rico to two runs in four innings, allowing solo homers to Carlos Delgado and Ivan Rodriguez. Chen took the loss against Javier Vazquez.

Finally, Chen found some stability when he joined the Kansas City Royals - his 10th team - in 2009. That first season seemed like more of the same, 1-6, 5.78, but he then put together back-to-back solid seasons in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, he was 12-7, 4.17, pitching 140 1/3 innings, then in 2011, his record was 12-8, 3.77 in 25 starts; both years came when the Royals were well below .500 as he was easily the most dependable pitcher in the starting rotation. Convinced that Chen had finally turned a corner, the Royals offered him a big raise to re-sign him after the 2011 season. Chen earned the catch-phrase "C'mon Chen!" as a Kansas City Royal in 2010 after being heckled from the stands by Will Ferrell and Jason Sudeikis. Sudeikis, a life-long Kansan and die-hard Royals fan, had invited Will Ferrell and several other comedians to the game and were seated in the on-field dugout suite.

Chen is the only major league player born in Panama who is of Asian ancestry. He expressed interest in playing for the Chinese national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic (after Panama failed to qualify) and was put on their provisional roster, but the documentation he submitted was insufficient to prove his eligibility to play for China and he withdrew in mid-February.

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