Girardi decrees no facial hair for Marlins

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Now that the Florida Marlins have trimmed their payroll, facial hair is next.

New manager Joe Girardi wants to see no goatees, mustaches or beards when players begin reporting for spring training Feb. 18.

A former catcher with the New York Yankees, Girardi liked owner George Steinbrenner's rule that permitted neatly trimmed mustaches but no beards or shaggy hair. Girardi's policy of no facial hair will be even stricter -- and a first for the Marlins.

"I want players to look neat and responsible," Girardi said at a media luncheon Monday. "Maybe it's old school. But it's kind of neat when people are always clean, and I like it."

At 41, Girardi is the successor to 75-year-old Jack McKeon and part of a youth movement for the Marlins, who unloaded seven everyday starters, two starting pitchers and their closer to reduce the payroll.

Battling for the vacated jobs in spring training will be plenty of prospects. Some of them might struggle to grow a beard, even if allowed.

"I don't have too much facial hair, so unfortunately for me, it's not an option," said first baseman Mike Jacobs, stroking his smooth chin. "If the manager has certain things he wants his way, you have to go with it."

Girardi said his players have laughed about the rule, and he expects little resistance. He said he'll likely always prohibit facial hair, even with a veteran team.

"You have a responsibility of what you look like," he said. "You find out which players want to be disciplined in the little things. And if you can be disciplined in the little things, a lot of times you can be disciplined in the big things."

Pitchers and catchers report to the training complex in Jupiter on Feb. 18, with the rest of the squad to follow by the 21st. The first full-squad workout is Feb. 23.

Expectations are similar to 1998, when another salary purge sent the Marlins reeling to a 108-loss season a year after they won the World Series. Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett, Carlos Delgado, Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre are among those to depart since last season.

Still, Girardi is raring to go.

"I can't wait," he said. "Baseball is a passion of mine. You take a month off, and then you miss it. I find myself watching the Caribbean World Series on TV, and there probably aren't a ton of people doing that. But I love the game.

"You manage the club you have. A lot of kids will have a lot of opportunities," he said.

They just won't have beards.