Marlins avoid hairy situation, soften beard policy

Marlins avoid hairy situation, soften beard policy

JUPITER, Fla. -- Beards are back at Marlins camp. So are mustaches and goatees.

As long as the players keep them trimmed, they are once again allowed to sport facial hair. It's a change from a year ago, when a stricter policy was in place.

"We talked about just keeping it groomed and being professional," manager Don Mattingly said.

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To Dan Straily, acquired from the Reds a few weeks ago, the news is a bit of a relief. Straily, who is competing for a rotation spot, has one of the thickest beards on the club.

"I wouldn't say worried," the right-hander said. "It's just facial hair at the end of the day, but it's definitely nice that I can be myself in that regard."

The Marlins have had no facial hair policies in the past. Joe Girardi adopted it when he managed the club in 2006. And last year, Mattingly brought the policy back. It's something the Yankees have done for decades.

"Last year, for me, it was a new situation," Mattingly said. "I wanted to make sure they put the team first. I wanted more of a team approach to the game. It wasn't going to be about personal things. We were trying to create an atmosphere around the team."

The players adhered to the policy, but many did so reluctantly.

Former Marlins right-hander Andrew Cashner, who sported a full beard with the Padres, shaved it all off after he was dealt to Miami in late July. Mattingly admitted a number of players griped over the course of the season.

"It was a constant fight last year, honestly, with guys," Mattingly said.

The Marlins softened their facial policy stance in the offseason and decided to allow the players to do what they want, as long as they look neat.

"Just watching the playoffs, for me, World Series, it just didn't seem like that big a deal," Mattingly said. "The most important thing is our guys prepare, play the game right. We're not really worried about that."

Straily trimmed his beard when he arrived in South Florida to get ready for FanFest, which was last weekend at Marlins Park.

"When I got here last week, it was more mountain man-ish," he said. "I cleaned it up before FanFest and we're good to go."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.