NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Rays ace David Price made some rare spring training noise on Tuesday when he declared that if he were traded to the Yankees, he wouldn’t consider a lengthy extension because of the team’s strict rules regarding facial hair.
“I wouldn’t stay there very long then,” Price, who wears a closely cropped beard, told FOXSports.com. “I wouldn’t sign a long-term deal there.”
The Yankees have had a long list of players with mustaches, ranging from greats (Don Mattingly, Reggie Jackson) to utility guys (Sal Fasano). Because whiskers aren’t allowed to dip below the lip, new additions like fan favorite Johnny Damon have been forced to shave their trademark beards.
“Those rules, that’s old-school baseball,” Price said on Tuesday. “I was born in ’85. That’s not for me. That’s not something I want to be a part of.”
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The 27-year-old changed his tune on Thursday, telling reporters at the Rays’ spring training complex in Port Charlotte, Fla., that he has a tremendous amount of respect for how things are done in the Bronx.
“It probably wasn’t the best thing to say, but I didn’t mean anything by it,” Price said. “I wasn’t looking to offend the Yankees. It’s probably the best organization in all of sports. Not just baseball, but all of sports. I didn’t mean anything (against) the New York Yankees. I’ve had friends on that team for multiple years.”
Price isn’t due to become a free agent until 2016, though there has been speculation that the Rays could cash in on baseball’s pitching market and trade the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner.
But if Price’s comments from Tuesday made you believe that the left-hander would never join the Yankees, he nipped that sentiment in the bud on Thursday.
“I can’t rule out anybody because, obviously, what they do for the game of baseball is just tremendous,” Price said of the Yankees. “I was talking about Joe (Maddon). I was talking about the way we do everything over here, how he lets us be comfortable in our own skin. And that’s what I was referring to.”
The three-time All-Star was brilliant in 2012, going 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA and 205 strikeouts.
“Look, I understand it, I really do — but I wasn’t thinking that way when I said it,” Price said of his earlier comments. “It wasn’t about that. I was referring to the way we do things (with the Rays). I really don’t think that anybody does the things that we do here the way that we do it. That’s what I was talking about and that’s what the story was.”
Though he would eventually have to grab a razor and some shaving cream if he ever landed in the Bronx, Price doesn’t plan on doing any trimming anytime soon.
“This is me,” Price said. “I love my beard, for at least another year.”
Time for Price to get that razor out and head to the Bronx? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…