"I don't think they had enough viewers to watch that," McGehee said Wednesday after reporting to New York. "Reyes might be able to pull it off. I don't think they want to watch a chubby white guy shave his beard off."
The 29-year-old was immediately given his first start in pinstripes, playing first base against Baltimore in place of injured Mark Teixeira. He was aware of the Yankees' rule against facial hair without being told.
"It's a pretty well-known fact," he said in the nearly empty clubhouse before his American League debut.
That's why his teammates in the Pirates locker room wanted to give him a cutting sendoff. He said his beard was at least 2 years old.
"They all started to chant. They wanted to watch me shave in the clubhouse. I wasn't giving them that satisfaction," he said. "It's not like I'm winning any beauty pageants with or without it."
McGehee was at Chicago's Wrigley Field on Tuesday when he learned Pittsburgh had dealt him to New York for reliever Chad Qualls just before the deadline for trades without waivers. He took a late-night flight to New York, arriving about 12:30 a.m.
His wife Sarah, 5-year-old son Mackail and 2-year-old daughter Cooper planned to drive to their temporary home from Pittsburgh following the first midseason trade of his career. McGehee wasn't sure how his stuff would get to New York.
"I'm hoping she didn't burn it all," he said. "She hadn't seen my face in like four years. She might burn it all."
McGehee made just 11 big league appearances at third base from 2008 through last year, playing third base primarily for the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee. But the Pirates used him 77 times at first and just nine at third base. He hit .230 for Pittsburgh with eight homers and 35 RBI in 265 at-bats.
Teixeira had a cortisone shot in his left hand Tuesday and will be re-evaluated later this week. McGehee also figures to see time at third along with Eric Chavez as they fill in for Alex Rodriguez, whose left hand was broken after getting hit by a pitch from Seattle's Felix Hernandez on July 24. A-Rod could be sidelined until September.
In the Yankees clubhouse, McGehee was given Qualls' old stall -- which didn't have a nameplate.
"I'm feeling good right now," McGehee said. "It's kind of the first day of school wakeup. Tomorrow might be a different story. But we've got an off-day, I can crash out."
To clear a roster spot, the Yankees optioned infielder Ramiro Pena back to Scranton-Wilkes-Barre of the Triple-A International League.