Blue Jays’ Whit Merrifield says he can play home games in Toronto after receiving COVID-19 vaccine

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The Toronto Blue Jays acquired infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield on Thursday. Told reporters that he had received the COVID-19 vaccine., which means they will be eligible to play down the stretch in the team’s home games and, should they qualify, the postseason. The Canadian government does not allow travelers who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 to cross its borders except in exceptional, special circumstances.

The Blue Jays recently acquired Merrifield as part of a trade with the Kansas City Royals. Three player contract 2 deadlines just before August. Last month, Merrifield was among 10 Royals players unable to travel to Toronto due to vaccination status, but now says that status has changed. At the time Merrifield expressed some openness to vaccination if, for example, his team was in the mix for a playoff spot:

“It’s been a long thought process, because I understand what’s going on in Canada right now. I’ll think about getting it right now, that’s why going to Canada. It could change course. If anything If it happens and I join a team that has a chance to play in Canada in the postseason, that might change. But as we sit here right now, I’m satisfied with my decision, my The teammates support me, support the rest. The people here who have made this decision, and that’s it.”

Heading into Thursday night’s road game against the Minnesota Twins, the Blue Jays are 58-46. Although they are 11 games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East, the Jays hold the top wild-card spot in the AL. They are also in a three-game playoff position. Their status as contenders, plus the fact that the Blue Jays play their home games in Canada, may have motivated Merrifield to get vaccinated.

Canadian rules require international travelers to wait 14 days after the second shot of the single-dose vaccine or the two-dose vaccine before entering the country. The Jays’ next home game is Friday, Aug. 12.

This season, Merrifield, 33, is batting .240/.290/.352 with six home runs and 15 stolen bases in 90 games for the Royals. He is under contract through the 2023 season.