New Toronto Blue Jay Whit Merrifield received the Covid-19 vaccine and can now play in his team’s home games.
Canada does not allow unvaccinated people into the country, which prevented dozens of MLB players from playing against the Blue Jays at Rogers Center in Toronto in July, including Merrifield.
The nation’s vaccination mandates may or may not have played a role in who the Blue Jays acquired at the trade deadline. But Merrifield seemed to understand the opportunity and wanted to play in one of his team’s most important games as the postseason approached.
“For two weeks now, I understand it’s a possibility. I’ll be in Toronto when the team goes there,” Merrifield said, via MLB.com.
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In July, Merrifield confirmed that he was serious about vaccinations and that he would not be able to get them. But he said he would always keep an open mind, citing playing in important games in Canada.
“Based on experiences and conversations and what I’ve seen, this is the conclusion I’ve come to,” Merrifield said at the time. “Right or wrong, I didn’t do it on a whim. It was a long thought process because, I understand where Canada is right now. That’s the only reason I’m thinking about getting it at this point. Go Canada.
“That could change down the road. If something happens, and I get on a team that has a chance to play in Canada in the postseason, that could change. But, sitting here right now, I’m comfortable with my decision. My teammates support me and the rest of the guys here made the same decision. That’s it.”
Royals president says Merrifield ‘sorry’ for comments made while explaining vaccination decision
Merrifield was one of 10 Royals who did not make the recent trip to Toronto for the four-game series due to vaccination status.
Another of those players is Andrew Benintendi, who was acquired by the New York Yankees last week. Before making that trade, the Bronx Bombers were 100% vaccinated.
Benintendi said he is “open-minded” about the vaccine. As of last week, Benintendi and manager Aaron Boone had not spoken about the situation.
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The Yankees will face the Blue Jays in the postseason and they will travel to Toronto on September 26-28.