The Kansas City Royals will lose nearly a dozen players for several games in Canada due to the country’s COVID restrictions.
The MLB team has ten players on the roster who remain unvaccinated. As a result, they will not be able to travel with the Royals for a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, ESPN reported on Thursday.
“It’s an individual choice,” Royals manager Mike Matheny shared. “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.”
Those players who won’t make the trip include four of the team’s most productive hitters and two top starting pitchers. They include outfielder Andrew Benintendi; right-hander Brady Singer; center fielder Michael A. Taylor; outfielder Kyle Isbel; reliever Dylan Coleman; super-utilityman Whit Merrifield; catcher MJ Melendez; first baseman/outfielder Hunter Dozier; right-hander Brad Keller; and catcher Cam Gallagher, ESPN reported.
News: The Kansas City Royals will be missing nearly 40% of their roster for a series this week in Toronto because the players are not vaccinated, including a top trade target.
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“At the end of the day, it’s their choice,” Royals president of baseball operations Dayton Moore told reporters. “It’s what they decide to do. And we’ve always been an organization that promotes and encourages individual choices.”
“Unfortunately, some of this affects the team,” he added. “We’re disappointed in some of that, but we realize it’s part of the game and part of the world we live in. We’re just really looking forward to providing these players an opportunity who are getting a chance to play in Toronto.”
2022 All-Star Benintendi said he knows what the decision means to remain unvaccinated and that it’s his “personal decision. And I’m going to leave it at that.”
Merrifield shared a similar sentiment, adding that he didn’t make the decision “on a whim. It’s been a long thought process, because I understand what Canada has in place right now.”
In order to fill the Royal’s roster, Kansas City will pull in players from its Triple-A and Double-A affiliates giving some young players a huge opportunity.
The first game in the series is Thursday night.