MLB

10 unvaccinated Royals players to miss trip to Toronto for series against Blue Jays

The Kansas City Royals will be without 10 of the 26 players on their active roster for their upcoming trip to Toronto due to Canadian restrictions on travellers who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19.

Kansas City set to play 4 games in Toronto, players will be placed on restricted list

Andrew Benintendi (16) of the Kansas City Royals, seen in a file photo from July 2022, is one of 10 players on the Royals' active roster who will miss the team's upcoming trip to Toronto due to Canadian restrictions on travellers who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Kansas City Royals will be without 10 of the 26 players on their active roster for their upcoming trip to Toronto due to Canadian restrictions on travellers who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19.

Manager Mike Matheny said Wednesday the club will be without hitters Andrew Benintendi, Hunter Dozier, Cam Gallagher, Kyle Isbel, MJ Melendez, Whit Merrifield and Michael A. Taylor along with pitchers Dylan Coleman, Brad Keller and Brady Singer.

The team is set to play four games in Toronto. The 10 players will be placed on the restricted list and forfeit four days of pay and major league service time in accordance with the terms of MLB's collective bargaining agreement.

"It's an individual choice," Matheny said. "The organization's done a real good job bringing in professionals and experts to talk guys through tough conversations and then put it in their hands to make the decisions they believe is best for them and their families."

Benintendi will lose $186,813, Merrifield $153,846, Keller $106,044 and Dozier and Taylor $98,901 each. Among the others, the lost pay for Gallagher will be $19,451, Singer $15,962, Isbel $15,426, Coleman $15,399 and Melendez $15,385.

The club will name their replacements Thursday, along with an announcement about other staff who won't be travelling with the club.

"Now what it presents is an opportunity for some young guys to step in who wouldn't normally be here," Matheny said. "It will affect what we're doing rotation-wise and that will be another question that we'll have to answer later. I'm excited about some guys coming in and getting a chance."

Players cited personal decisions for themselves and their families behind their reasoning to not be vaccinated.

"It was a choice I made talking with my family, talking with my wife," Merrifield said. "I didn't think that the risk was worth it, honestly.

The unvaccinated players said they felt teammates supported their decisions.

"We've talked to these guys, they're not judging us at all," Dozier said. "They have our backs. I don't think we've ever dealt with something like this, where we're being forced to take a vaccine just to go play over in Toronto. It's just a weird situation. It's unfortunate."

"[The] staff, owner, GM, everybody, it's been really cool to see how they're handling it," Coleman said. "Not like forcing it. I feel like we all have our own opinion, so it's been really good that the higher-ups respect that."

Merrifield had the majors' longest active games played streak at 553 before a foot injury kept him out of action Sunday. He said he might change his mind if a similar circumstance presented itself later in the year.

"That might change down the road," he said. "If 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. As we sit here right now, I'm comfortable with my decision."

John Schneider, the Blue Jays' new manager, said his team won't take Kansas City lightly.

"A little bit surprising, but the rules are the rules. We live by them and the rest of the league lives by them," Schneider said in Toronto. "Definitely not a series you're going to take lightly going into the break. You kind of see who they have, you game plan accordingly, and hopefully build off this two-game series [sweep] against the Phillies."

Schneider was promoted from bench coach to interim manager for the remainder of the season when Toronto fired Charlie Montoyo on Wednesday.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now