MLB News: New Blue Jay Whit Merrifield Comments On Vaccination Status

Whit Merrifield
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Tristin McKinstry

The Toronto Blue Jays made an exciting move at the MLB trade deadline, acquiring Kansas City Royals utilityman Whit Merrifield in exchange for two prospects.

On the face of it, the move is fine. Merrifield is a two-time All-Star who provides decent production at the plate and speed on the base paths.

However, the move turned heads at the time because Merrifield was unvaccinated. Players who have not received their COVID-19 vaccinations are not allowed to enter Canada. He was one of 10 Royals players who didn't travel with the team to Toronto on July 13.

Now, Merrifield has made his Blue Jays debut in Toronto and clarified his vaccination status.

"I'm Excited To Be A Blue Jay"

Toronto Blue Jays
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Merrifield told reporters following the trade that he is, in fact, vaccinated against COVID-19. He said he was excited to meet his teammates in Canada's capital.

"I'll be in Toronto when the team gets to Toronto," Merrifield said. The 33-year-old said he could've handled everything better, but it was all behind him at this point.

"It was something that I probably could have handled a little better," Merrifield said. "But what's happened has happened, and I'm excited to be a Blue Jay, excited to get to Toronto and play at the Rogers Centre as my home."

The Debut

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The Blue Jays were away from home when Merrifield made his debut for the team on Thursday. They did face a familiar opponent to the two-time All-Star, his former AL Central rival Minnesota Twins.

The 33-year-old picked up two hits while patrolling center field. His most productive hit came a bit late in the ball game. He reached on an infield single in the top of the sixth inning, driving in a run to make it 3-1 Toronto.

The Blue Jays would blow the game wide open in the late innings, winning the contest 9-3.

Previous Comments

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Merrifield's vaccination may not come as a surprise to many. He was required to have it to play home games in Canada, and while the Blue Jays reportedly weren't mandating he get the vaccine, it would have helped the team immensely.

Beyond that, Merrifield expressed a willingness to get the vaccine. Playing postseason baseball in Canada, particularly, was one thing that the two-time All-Star said could sway him.

"Right or wrong, I didn't do it on a whim. It's been a long thought process. Because I understand what Canada has in place right now. That's the only reason that I would think about getting it at this point is to go to Canada. 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 in my decision, my teammates support me, support the rest of the guys in here who have made that decision, and that's that," Merrifield said in mid-July, via

Excitement For A New Start

Toronto Blue Jays
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Regardless of the talk surrounding his vaccination status, Merrifield is excited to be a Blue Jay. He debuted with the Royals the year after they won the World Series in 2015, so pursuing a championship is an attractive prospect to the 33-year-old.

"When you play against certain teams, from the outside, there's certain teams that come in, and you feel the energy from them," Merrifield said. "This is one of those teams. From top to bottom, it's exciting baseball. I'm excited. I'm saying 'excited' a lot. I'm excited to be part of this team."