Marlins players allowed to sport facial hair again
Marcell Ozuna sported a beard in 2015, could it be back in 2017? (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -- Beards are back for the Miami Marlins.
Manager Don Mattingly said he and owner Jeffrey Loria decided lift their prohibition on facial hair after one season.
"It was a constant fight last year, honestly, with guys," said Mattingly, speaking Tuesday before the first spring training workout for pitchers and catchers. "Through the course of the season and watching the playoffs and the World Series, for me it just didn't seem like that big of a thing. The most important thing is our guys prepare and play the game right."
The Marlins will continue to require players be well-groomed. The ban was adopted after Mattingly was hired as manager before the 2016 season.
"A little bit last year for me was being in a new situation and wanting to make sure the team was put first, and it wasn't going to be about personal things," he said.
A handful of players took advantage of the new policy, including All-Star closer A.J. Ramos and starting pitchers Edinson Volquez and Dan Straily.
Ramos acknowledged players complained last year about the ban.
"Now you feel like you're not so under control," he said. "You can fend for yourself. You can do what you want, and we can stop hearing the crying."
Among those still without a beard is outfielder Christian Yelich,
"I can't grow one, bro," Yelich said. "It doesn't affect me."
Last year's beard ban was new for Mattingly. The Dodgers allowed facial hair when he was their manager for five seasons, and he wore a mustache when he was an All-Star first baseman for the Yankees.