Whit Merrifield receives COVID-19 vaccine, now able to play Blue Jays home games


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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.

Kansas City Royals’ Whit Merrifield doubles in the 11th inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, California on June 21, 2022.
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

“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.

Kansas City Royals' Whit Merrifield during a fight against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 3, 2022 in Detroit.

Kansas City Royals’ Whit Merrifield during a fight against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 3, 2022 in Detroit.
(Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

“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.

Kansas City Royals' Andrew Benintendi talks to teammate Whit Merrifield during a game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 6, 2022 in Houston.

Kansas City Royals’ Andrew Benintendi talks to teammate Whit Merrifield during a game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 6, 2022 in Houston.
(Logan Riely/Getty Images)

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The Yankees could face the Blue Jays in the playoffs and they will travel to Toronto Sept. 26-28.


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