TAMPA, Fla. -- Clint Frazier liked his hair, but the outfield prospect says he loves playing for the Yankees more.Frazier's curly red mop was buzzed down in the clubhouse on Friday morning at the suggestion of manager Joe Girardi, who said that he felt that the long locks had become
TAMPA, Fla. -- Clint Frazier liked his hair, but the outfield prospect says he loves playing for the Yankees more.
Frazier's curly red mop was buzzed down in the clubhouse on Friday morning at the suggestion of manager Joe Girardi, who said that he felt that the long locks had become a distraction in camp.
"In thinking to myself and talking to a few people around here, I finally came to the agreement that it's time to look like everybody else around here," Frazier said.
• Spring:Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs
Girardi said that he spoke to Frazier on Thursday about the hair, but acknowledged that it did not specifically violate the Yankees' longstanding grooming policy, which was instituted by George M. Steinbrenner in the 1970s.
"We have rules in place. In reality, when he was on the field, it met the criteria," Girardi said. "But it had become somewhat of a distraction, and I didn't want that anymore. He didn't want that, and he made a choice."
Frazier said that his hair has not been this short since his parents made him cut it in seventh grade. The Yanks said that they are donating Frazier's hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson said that Frazier -- the club's No. 2 prospect and the No. 24 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com -- was concerned about fitting in with the Yankees, and that adhering to Steinbrenner's wishes is an important part of playing for the organization.
"Since George was here in the '70s, there are still people here that are in their seventies that think that the way he wanted things is important," Jackson said. "And it makes sense. And so I feel the whole organization has a feeling about continuing, if I can say this with respect, the way the old guard wanted it. The way the sheriff wanted it is how we want to continue to do things."
Steinbrenner instituted the policy after spotting hair that was too long for his liking when the team lined up for pregame introductions on Opening Day 1973, jotting down the uniform numbers of the offending players and sending a note down to manager Ralph Houk.
While the world has changed in any number of ways since then, Girardi believes the policy still makes sense for today's game.
"I think it has value because it's a tradition," Girardi said. "It's a tradition by a man that meant so much to this organization, and if it's important to him and it's important to his family, then it needs to be respected by all of us and important to us. That's the bottom line."
Acquired from the Indians in last July's Andrew Miller trade, Frazier entered Friday batting .286 (6-for-21) with two doubles, a triple, five RBIs and eight strikeouts in 11 Grapefruit League games this spring. Girardi said that Frazier "wants the focus to be on how he plays, not how he looks."
"We've been impressed by his work ethic, the improvement that he has made on the field, in the outfield, his throwing," Girardi said. "He's a good kid. He's a fun-loving kid. He plays hard. He does a ton of things right. I'm excited about his future."
Jackson observed that Frazier had his best batting-practice session of the spring after the haircut, saying that he was finally able to relax.
"I just want to play," Frazier said. "That's all I want to do."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007.