Why the Yankees' Alex Verdugo is paying for his younger teammates' haircuts (2024)

TAMPA, Fla. — New York Yankees left fielder Alex Verdugo overheard a few of the team’s minor leaguers discussing the high-priced haircuts at the team’s facility. Verdugo said the team barber, David Castillo, charges a flat rate of $100 per haircut, a premium for those less settled in their careers.

Before Castillo left Tampa to care for his other clients around the country, namely Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, Verdugo had Yankees bench coach Brad Ausmus text every player with fewer than two years of service time that haircuts were on him.

“Everyone has made me feel a part of the team since day one,” Verdugo said. “It’s been a very easy transition for me. I didn’t do this to win over the team. It was more about trying to help the minor leaguers. I’ve enjoyed talking with them. They’re all good guys. I just heard them talking about how the haircuts are expensive, so, I said, ‘F— it. I’ll pay.’ Little gestures like that go a long way.”


When Verdugo started his professional career in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system, he said he’d see some of the veterans buy suits for the younger guys on the roster. But Verdugo said he was never the beneficiary of any of those gifts. It made him feel a bit left out, but it didn’t bother him too much since the vets often helped him talk through any challenges he faced adapting to pro baseball.

In the 13 years that Castillo has worked in professional sports, he said Verdugo was the first player he’s come across to pay for the haircuts of his teammates.

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“It was not only an act of kindness for the players but for me, too,” Castillo said. “It gave me more work. I’m trying to provide for my family and I’m there for work. You know the Yankee Way. You have to look good, feel good and look clean. A lot of these guys got to experience that Yankee Way for the first time because of Verdugo.”

Verdugo didn’t have the greatest reputation inside the Dodgers’ or Boston Red Sox’s clubhouses. Veteran pitcher Rich Hill condemned Verdugo early in his career for showing up late to the ballpark and missing a Dodgers pregame hitters’ meeting. Verdugo was benched twice last season by Red Sox manager Alex Cora for showing up late to the park multiple times. Verdugo then fired some not-so-subtle shots toward Cora in his introductory Yankees press conference when he mentioned playing for a manager who’d have his back in Aaron Boone.

Boone has been around Verdugo for just over a month so far and said his starting left fielder is “a fun kid to be around,” who the clubhouse has already fully embraced. It’s allowed Verdugo to be unabashedly himself.

“At the same time, we have to keep it tamed and keep it within the team rules,” Verdugo said. “I think the cool thing here is everyone is held accountable for the same things. It’s much easier to get behind that instead of half the guys being accountable and the other half are able to do whatever they want. Everybody here is bought in. It doesn’t matter if you’re (Aaron) Judge, Gleyber (Torres), DJ (LeMahieu) or (Anthony) Rizzo, everybody is the same and everyone is bought into this. When you see the guys at the top of the level buying in and feeding into it, it’s a lot easier of a transition for me to be the same way.”


Judge has been one of Verdugo’s biggest advocates with the Yankees. The captain said earlier this spring that he’s preached for years to the front office that they needed to try acquiring the left-handed hitter because of his intensity on the field and his desire to play through minor injuries. So far, Verdugo has followed Judge’s leadership by being as accessible as possible to the younger guys and showing them they’re just as important to the organization as the longtime veterans.

The Yankees have a reputation across sports for being an operation where every player has to fit in the same box. Verdugo and starting pitcher Marcus Stroman will push boundaries. Boone has already talked with Verdugo about how many chains he can wear around his neck. It’s not a usual conversation for Boone to have, but Verdugo is only allowed one chain while on the field.

“I didn’t know about the one-chain policy,” Verdugo said. “That one kind of hurt. I can wear as many chains to the field as I want; I just have to play with only one. I feel a lot lighter on the field. It’s cool, though. I don’t want to find out what happens if I wear two. I know you get yellow and red cards in soccer. I’m staying clear of that.”

After getting traded to the Yankees this offseason, Verdugo almost immediately shaved his beard to comply with the longstanding team policy. He knew he was going to have to get used to the clean look eventually, so he decided the quicker he complied, the faster he’d get over it. Former Yankee Johnny Damon has a shared experience with Verdugo in that both had full beards with the Red Sox and were intensely hated by most fans in the Bronx. That changed for Damon once he signed with the Yankees in free agency and eventually became a key member of the 2009 World Series team.

But even before winning a ring, Damon quickly changed Yankee fans’ perception of him by being the ultimate competitor. He also hit. Verdugo has taunted Yankee fans over the past few years, but if he hits, he’ll be celebrated. It’s that simple in New York.


“At least the Yankee fans respected the way I play the game. So when they got me, they knew what I was going to bring to the table. I always like to tell people I’ve been loved and hated everywhere I’ve been, and I’m doing okay right now,” Damon said last month.

Verdugo has extra motivation this season to be on his best behavior since it’s his platform year before he hits free agency next offseason. So far, he’s making the best impression possible and winning over the locker room.

“He’s a guy who’s going to fit in well in the Bronx,” Castillo said. “He reminds me of Bronx Yankees fans. He’s a real one. He’s one of them.”

(Top photo of Alex Verdugo: New York Yankees/Getty Images)

Why the Yankees' Alex Verdugo is paying for his younger teammates' haircuts (2024)


Why the Yankees' Alex Verdugo is paying for his younger teammates' haircuts? ›

— New York Yankees left fielder Alex Verdugo overheard a few of the team's minor leaguers discussing the high-priced haircuts at the team's facility. Verdugo said the team barber, David Castillo, charges a flat rate of $100 per haircut, a premium for those less settled in their careers.

What is the Yankees hair policy? ›

Since 1976, the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB) have maintained a strict appearance policy, specifying that players' hair must not touch their collars and that they may have mustaches but no other facial hair.

Why do Yankees have to be clean shaven? ›

The policy against long hair and beards first started with Steinbrenner during the 1970s. Steinbrenner had spent time in the United States Air Force, where he had to adhere to strict grooming standards.

Can the Yankees wear jewelry? ›

Apparently, in 2024, the Yankees also have a rule about the amount of necklaces a certain player can wear during games, too. According to left fielder Alex Verdugo, a frequent wearer of several chain necklaces, manager Aaron Boone has ruled that he can only wear one chain per game.

Can Yankees have tattoos? ›

The Yankees do not have a policy against tattoos (Aroldis Chapman, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres are among the players with visible tattoos), but do make their players, coaches and male executives keep things clean cut.

Do the Yankees make their players cut their hair? ›

Every MLB player likely knows that the Yankees have this policy, and some will gladly shave and cut their hair in order to play for the Yankees. Gerrit Cole is a good recent example, who had to do both when he joined via free agency before the 2020 season. Alex Verdugo is also another recent example.

Do you have to cut your hair on the Yankees? ›

The Yankees have a longstanding policy banning beards and long hair.

Can a Yankees player refuse to shave? ›

While many organizations around sports have relaxed such policies over the years, the Yankees' policy remains, meaning their stars -- even in an era where player individuality and expression is emphasized more than ever before -- must be clean-shaven and kept.

Why do the Yankees not have names on their jerseys? ›

One of the primary reasons behind the absence of names on the Yankees' jerseys is the organization's strong emphasis on team unity. By not displaying individual names, the team promotes the idea that every player is part of something greater than themselves – the Yankees' legacy.

Do the Yankees still have a dress code? ›

Dress Code

The Yankees reserve the right to ask anyone with clothing deemed to be obscene or indecent to remove or cover up the item. Guests are also prohibited from wearing clothing, face paint or masks that conceal or hide their faces. Those who refuse to comply will be denied entry or removed from Yankee Stadium.

Did the Yankees ever wear red? ›

The latest example of that came a few days ago, when uni designer/historian Todd Radom tweeted the astonishing news that several Yankees wore red undershirts at various points in the 1920s — something that he (and I) had never heard about before.

What isn t allowed in Yankee Stadium? ›

No cans, thermoses, glass or aluminum bottles are permitted in Yankee Stadium. Exceptions are made for Guests with medical needs and for glass baby bottles at the sole and absolute discretion of Yankee Stadium.

What MLB teams don't allow facial hair? ›

For decades, the Bronx Bombers have forbidden their players from growing any facial hair other than a well-maintained mustache. The policy originates from former owner George Steinbrenner, who instituted the rule in 1976. Forty-six years later, the Yankees still make players break out the razor when they join the club.

Do the Yankees allow beards? ›

New York's players are expressly prohibited from growing "any facial hair other than mustaches (except for religious reasons)." The policy has long polarized opinion among both Yankees fans and baseball fans in general.

Can you wear 0 in MLB? ›

In Major League Baseball, players are allowed to wear zero as their uniform number (yes, it's a number.

Who wore number 0 for the Yankees? ›

Ottavino became the first Yankee in team history to wear uniform number 0, the last single-digit number not retired by the Yankees.

Can you not have long hair on the Yankees? ›

The Yankees' facial hair rules were adopted in the mid-1970s, with then-owner George Steinbrenner and manager Billy Martin forbidding players from having beards, mutton chops or long hair.

What is the rule 5 for beards? ›

Rule #5: Make it work (appropriate).

A good rule of thumb is to make sure neck hair ends above the Adam's apple and with the cheek line, it doesn't go any higher than the bottom of the nose.

Why do pitchers have long hair? ›

Long hair can be a useful distraction on the field — especially for pitchers. A hitter who faced DeGrom (and has evidently chosen to remain nameless) told the Bergen Record in March, “He's got that hair — you can't not look at it, it's everywhere. It bothers me when I'm trying to pick up the ball out of his hand.

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