NEW YORK — As the vaccination statuses of major league players come under increased focus — unvaccinated players are ineligible to play games in Toronto because of Canada’s COVID-19 guidelines, while those on the Yankees and Mets currently would be unable to play in home games because of New York’s private-employer mandate — some have announced they received shots during the offseason.
Among them are Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts and second baseman Christian Arroyo, who said Tuesday they received the COVID-19 shot after being among the league’s unvaccinated players last season.
« Yeah I am, » Bogaerts said when asked about his vaccination status. « So get that out there. »
Boston didn’t reach the 85% vaccination threshold needed for teams to have COVID-19 protocols relaxed last season. Notable players such as pitchers Chris Sale and Josh Taylor — who were unvaccinated in 2021 — have not said if their statuses changed over the winter.
Unvaccinated players in the American League East would miss 10 games in Toronto unless guidelines change. They would be placed on the restricted list — without pay or service time — during those series in Canada.
Unvaccinated players in New York are facing a different playing problem because of the city’s private-employer mandate put in place by former mayor Bill de Blasio in December.
Opening Day is April 7, and Major League Baseball and both New York teams are aware of how the policy could affect their workplaces. The Mets declined comment Tuesday, while the Yankees, in a statement, said, « Randy Levine is working with City Hall and all appropriate officials on this matters. » They declined further comment.
The situation is fluid and could be resolved before the Yankees host the Red Sox on Opening Day, but if everything stands, both the New York teams are facing a similar situation to that of the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving, whose unvaccinated status prevents him from playing home games in Brooklyn.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge evaded questions when asked by reporters about his vaccination status Tuesday.
« I’m still focused on getting through the first game of spring training, » Judge, who is eligible for free agency after the 2022 season, said. « We’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. So many things could change. I’m not too worried about that right now. »
Members of the Yankees who are unvaccinated would be ineligible for 93 games under the current rules. Unvaccinated Mets players would be ineligible for 83 games.
Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo did not express concern for teams with unvaccinated players.
« The rules are the rules, and we follow they like everybody else, » he said Monday. « That’s how I see it. We followed them last year. »