Two-time All-Star infielder Whit Merrifield was among the many players who changed teams at the trade deadline earlier this week, heading from Kansas City to Toronto. And while he was recently barred from entering Canada due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19, he revealed on Thursday that he has since reversed course.
Merrifield said Thursday that he would be ready to join the team when the Blue Jays return home to Toronto next week for a home series with Cleveland that begins on Aug. 12, he told reporters in Minneapolis ahead of a game against the Twins.
“I’ll be in Toronto when the team gets to Toronto,” Merrifield said, per The Athletic.
Merrifield had been one of 10 Royals players who did not make a trip to Toronto just before the All-Star break as a result of being unvaccinated. At the time, Merrifield’s comments on the matter came under scrutiny.
“The only reason that I would think about getting [the vaccine] at this point is to go to Canada,” Merrifield said. “That might change down the road. 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. But as we sit here right now, I’m comfortable with my decision.”
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He also added about the vaccine: “what it’s supposed to do, it’s not doing. If it was doing what it was supposed to do and stopping the spread of COVID [then] I would have a little more willingness to take it, but it’s not doing that.”
Afterward, Merrifield walked back his initial comments about why he would consider getting the vaccine, saying that he did not articulate well his larger point about prioritizing the opportunity to play in the playoffs.
“I’m sorry that I poorly articulated the point I was trying to make,” Merrifield said. “It’s an uncomfortable topic and I started rambling on and trying to make a point about my passion for winning that had no relevance to the topic that was being discussed. For that I am truly sorry.
“I didn’t say people misunderstood it, I poorly articulated the point I was trying to say,” Merrifield said. “If what was standing between me and the playoffs was this vaccine, I would consider getting it. I didn’t say I would get it for another team, or wouldn’t get it for this team, it was simply a point about showing how much I value playing in the playoffs.”
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