Whit Merrifield answered the question baseball watchers have been asking since Tuesday. Now it’s time to play ball.
Former Kansas City Royal, acquired by Ross Atkins at trade deadline for a pair of prospects, says he’s had the COVID-19 vaccine and will be able to dress for Blue Jays home games .
“I’ve understood for a few weeks now that this might be a possibility,” Merrifield said, speaking to Minnesota media for the first time since his trade. “I will be in Toronto when the team is there.”
Merrifield missed a recent series at Rogers Center because he wasn’t vaccinated. At the time, the former Royal hinted that his stance on shooting could change if he was part of a contending team that had a chance to play outside of the United States in the post-season.
“If what stood between me and the playoffs was this vaccine, I would consider getting it,” Merrifield said in July while clarifying previous comments he’s made about the vaccine.
Based on Canada’s border rules, which are similar to those in the United States, Merrifield could not enter the country without being quarantined if he was not vaccinated. All Blue Jays players are vaccinated against COVID, allowing them to cross the border freely throughout the season.
Blue Jays management had remained mum on Merrifield’s vax status since the acquisition, saying the decision was “entirely theirs.”
“I’m sure he’s had conversations with his family and other people,” Jays manager John Schneider said Wednesday.
Merrifield told reporters in Minnesota that the first two calls he made after being traded were to former Blue Jays Justin Smoak and Ryan Goins, who offered rave reviews about the organization.
He will make his Blue Jays debut on Thursday, playing center field and batting eighth as the team begins a three-game series at Minnesota. He will play in front of his new home fans for the first time on August 12, when the team returns to Toronto for a series against Cleveland.
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