May 19, 2024

The strict rules enforced by the New York Yankees organization seem to be taking a toll on outfielder Alex Verdugo, who was traded to the Yankees from the rival Boston Red Sox in December. Unlike his time with the Red Sox, where he sported a thick beard and multiple chains, Verdugo has had to make significant changes to conform to the Yankees’ policies. Since George Steinbrenner acquired the team in 1973, the Yankees have maintained a no-beard and no-long-hair policy. Verdugo, like other players before him, has had to shave his beard and limit his accessories, including chains, as per the team’s regulations.

New York Yankees Rules Appear to Be Getting to Alex Verdugo

According to Verdugo, Yankees manager Aaron Boone informed him that he could not wear more than one chain during games, which has been a difficult adjustment for him. Stripped of his signature look, Verdugo is adjusting to his first season in New York City. However, his performance on the field has yet to reflect his full potential.

Despite starting all 10 games for the Yankees, Verdugo is struggling at the plate with a batting average of .143, one home run, and three runs batted in. While he has made contact, striking out only twice in 40 plate appearances, he has struggled to convert those opportunities into hits, resulting in a career-low OPS of .454 over a full season.

Transitioning to playing for the Yankees is challenging, especially for Verdugo, who must adapt while feeling out of character. Nevertheless, his slow start has not hindered the Yankees’ success, as they currently boast an American League-best 8-2 record, tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the best record in baseball.

A former second-round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2014 MLB Draft, Verdugo made his debut with the Dodgers in 2017 and spent the first three years of his career with the team. His breakout year came in 2019, where he posted impressive numbers before being traded to the Red Sox as a key piece in the blockbuster deal that sent Mookie Betts to Los Angeles. After four seasons with the Red Sox, Verdugo was traded to the Yankees for three pitchers. Now, he aims to have a solid 2024 campaign before entering free agency in the offseason.

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