The Kansas City Royals will be extremely short-handed during their upcoming series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ten players, including the team's lone All-Star in outfielder Andrew Benintendi, will not make the trip since they have not received a COVID-19 vaccination. Canada has a vaccine mandate in place for people entering the country.
Benintendi is joined by infielder Whit Merrifield, catcher MJ Melendez, first baseman/outfielder Hunter Dozier, starting pitcher Brad Keller, starting pitcher Brady Singer, outfielder Michael A. Taylor, outfielder Kyle Isbel, reliever Dylan Coleman and catcher Cam Gallagher. All 10 players landed on the restricted list, which requires players to forfeit service time and salary for the four-game series.
With Benintendi, Dozier, Taylor and Isbel on the restricted list, Edward Olivares is the only vaccinated outfielder on Kansas City’s big league roster. The team will look to Triple-A Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas for reinforcements in the outfield and throughout the roster.
Other players have stayed in the U.S. while their teammates head to Rogers Centre. J.T Realmuto is one of four notable, unvaccinated players on the Philadelphia Phillies, who conclude a two-game set with the Blue Jays on Wednesday. The Phillies catcher was particularly outspoken about Canada's vaccination mandate and did not make the trip.
While teams across baseball have been without a handful of players against the Blue Jays, the Royals have the highest number of absences by far. Twenty-five total players had hit the restricted list due to their unvaccinated status prior to the Royals' visit to Canada and no team missed more than four in Toronto.
The Royals’ series against the Blue Jays brings them into the All-Star break. The next time their unvaccinated players will be able to take the field again is on Friday, July 22, against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Blue Jays will also have a different look for their series against the Royals. The team fired manager Charlie Montoya on Wednesday and named bench coach John Schneider the interim manager.