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Toronto’s newest Blue Jay, Whit Merrifield, received a COVID-19 vaccine and can now play in his team’s home games.
Canada does not allow unvaccinated people to enter the country, which prevented dozens of MLB players from playing against the Blue Jays at Rogers Center in Toronto, including Merrifield in July.
The country’s vaccination mandates may or may not have played a role in who the Blue Jays were looking to acquire at the trade deadline. But it seemed Merrifield understood the possibility and wanted to play in his team’s most important games heading into the playoffs.
“For a few weeks now, I’ve understood that might be a possibility. I’ll be in Toronto when the team gets there,” Merrifield said, via MLB.com.
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In July, Merrifield said he had given a lot of thought to vaccines and concluded he would not receive any. But he said he always kept an open mind, citing playing in important games in Canada.
“That’s what, based on experiences and conversations and what I’ve seen, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to,” Merrifield said at the time. “Right or wrong, I didn’t do this on a whim. It’s been a long thought process because, again, I understand what Canada has in place right now. That’s the only reason i would think about getting it at this point.. going to canada.
“That might change later. If something happens and I join a team that’s lucky enough to go play Canada in the playoffs, maybe that will change. But, as we’re sitting here right now , I’m comfortable with my decision. My teammates support me, and the rest of the guys here who have made the same decision. And that’s it.
PRESIDENT ROYALS SAYS WHIT MERRIFIELD ‘SORRY’ FOR COMMENTS MADE DURING EXPLANATION OF VACCINE DECISION
Merrifield was one of 10 Royals who did not travel to Toronto for a four-game series recently due to their vaccination status.
Another such player was Andrew Benintendi, who the New York Yankees acquired last week. Prior to making this trade, the Bronx Bombers were 100% vaccinated.
Benintendi said he remains “open-minded” about the vaccine. Last week, Benintendi and manager Aaron Boone did not discuss the situation.
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The Yankees could face the Blue Jays in the playoffs and they will travel to Toronto Sept. 26-28.