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Royals laud retiring Jeter for professionalism

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals continued to join in paying tribute to the Yankees' Derek Jeter, who'll retire after the coming season.

"He's the ultimate professional. He kind of set the tone for our era -- how the game's supposed to be played," right-hander Luke Hochevar said. "His professionalism, he's a class act on and off the field, and he sets a good example for younger players.

"I think the impact that he's made on this game has been bigger than any of us probably understand. He's the epitome of a professional."

Left fielder Alex Gordon struck a similar theme.

"He's someone for every young guy to look up to, how to carry himself and how to play the game, and how to deal with success the way he has," Gordon said.

"I mean, if you talk about the consummate professional, just how to act around the game, that's who you look at. He's respected by every single guy around Major League Baseball. We're all fans of him. I've got a signed jersey from him down in my basement. He's quite the pro."

Hochevar, who's faced Jeter nine times and given up three hits, had another thought.

"He's a tough out, too," Hochevar said with a smile, "and he plays great defense."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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