First Pitch: Be like Mike? No, Derek

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
9:00
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter is so beloved that even pitchers that he owns still want to be like him.

Jeter has the highest batting average against Red Sox ace Jon Lester of any hitter that has faced Lester 50 or more times.

Still, despite the fact Jeter has smacked him around, Lester -- like seemingly every other major leaguer -- wants to be like Jeter.

"You try to emulate him as best you can," Lester said. "If you can handle half the things that he has, halfway as well as he has, I think you are doing pretty well for yourself."

Lester will go for the Red Sox on Friday against the Yankees' nominal ace CC Sabathia. Lester, 30, is due to be a free agent at the end of the year. He has already said that he would like to pull a Jeter and stay with one club his whole career.

"The big city feel with the smaller scale," Lester said when asked why he likes Boston so much.

Still, the Red Sox and Lester have not been able to come to an agreement yet. Lester said that it is a "business" decision, so he seems only willing to agree on a deal that he deems fair. He also mentioned that he has a responsibility to the Players Association to not take an inferior contract.

Lester said he wasn't surprised that Jacoby Ellsbury left Boston. He thought he might, and since the Yankees are usually in on big-time free agents, he wasn't really surprised Ellsbury ended up a Yankee. Still, he wish he hadn't.

"When I found that out I was like, 'Man, really, the Yankees?'" Lester said. "At the same time, he did what he wanted to do that was best for his family. I can't fault that."

Lester prefers to be like Jeter, though.

"The biggest thing for me is class, accountability, respect," Lester said of Jeter. "He has done so much playing in New York. I feel like he has been on the highest stage so long and handled it. He is never in the news. He has always handled all the failures with class and respect -- all the success with the same. He is a guy growing up you look to up to and idolize. I was fortunate enough to play in an All-Star Game."

Got you covered: Wallace Matthews and Kieran Darcy will have all the action from Yankee Stadium.

Question: Would you want to see Lester in a Yankee uniform next year?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146