A COVID-19 vaccination is required to enter Canada. Ten players on the Kansas City Royals, who are unvaccinated, will not be allowed to travel with the club and will miss this upcoming four-game series in Toronto with the Blue Jays. The club can use minor leaguers from their Double-A and Triple-A affiliated teams.
Infielders Whit Merrifield and Hunter Dozier; outfielders Andrew Benintendi, Michael A. Taylor and Kyle Isbel; catchers MJ Melendez and Cam Gallagher; starting pitchers Brad Keller and Brady Singer; and reliever Dylan Coleman were placed on the restricted list on Wednesday following their game with Detroit. The players will not be paid and will not incur service time for four days.
Merrifield’s franchise record streak of 553 consecutive games played ended Monday when he missed a doubleheader with a bad toe. Had he not been injured, his streak would have ended on Thursday.
“Right or wrong, I didn’t do it on a whim,” Merrifield said. “It’s been a long thought process. Because I understand what Canada has in place right now. That’s the only reason that I would think about getting it at this point, is to go to Canada. That might change down the road. Something happens and I happen to get on a team that has a chance to go play in Canada in the postseason, maybe that changes.”
Hunter Dozier, who had two hits in the Royals win, said he didn’t feel a need to get vaccinated.
“Me personally, I don’t do any vaccines…I just live a healthy lifestyle, I eat healthy, I work out.”
The Royals have held meetings with players to educate and encourage vaccinations. Royals president of baseball operations Dayton Moore supports the players. “But at the end of the day, it’s their choice. It’s what they decide to do. And we’ve always been an organization that promotes and encourages individual choices.”
The Royals are 35-53 heading into this four-game series before the All-Star break.