Ten Unvaccinated Kansas City Royals Skip Series Against Toronto Blue Jays

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Ten Unvaccinated Kansas City Royals Skip Series Against Toronto Blue Jays
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The Kansas City Royals might not have much of a shot in the current four-game road series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Ten Royals players who have never been vaccinated against COVID-19 are banned from entering Canada.

In Thursday’s game, the underdog Royals are at +300 on the moneyline, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Blue Jays are at -375.

The COVID-19 vaccine requirement to cross into Canada is leaving the Royals without their only 2022 All-Star player, Andrew Benintendi, pictured. The 28-year-old former University of Arkansas standout is entering free agency this winter and could be traded before the season is over.

Benintendi is listed as an American League backup outfielder in Tuesday’s All-Star game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, behind starters Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.

Royals Turn To Minor Leagues 

In addition to Benintendi, who is batting .317, the Royals will be without other top hitters and a couple of their best pitchers.

The other unvaccinated Royals are infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield, first baseman/outfielder Hunter Dozier, outfielders Michael A. Taylor and Kyle Isbel, catchers M.J. Melendez and Cam Gallagher and pitchers Brad Keller, Brady Singer and Dylan Coleman.

The Royals are left with only one outfielder, Edward Olivares, on the 26-man roster. 

For the series in Toronto, the team will fill out its roster with players from the Royals’ minor league affiliates, the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers and Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals, based in Springdale, Arkansas.

The Storm Chasers’ top hitter, first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, is batting .280. Infielder Michael Massey, listed on the Naturals’ website as that team’s top hitter, is batting .305.

Royals manager Mike Matheny said this road trip to Canada is “an opportunity for some young guys to step in,” according to ESPN.

“I'm excited about some guys coming in and getting a chance,” he said.

Even with a full roster, the Royals have been struggling. With a 35-53 record, the team is last in the American League Central Division, 13 games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins.

The MLB betting odds on the Royals-Blue Jays series will be posted each day at casino ticket widows and mobile sportsbooks.

Team Promotes ‘Individual Choices’

Before the Royals current series in Toronto, 25 MLB players previously have not been allowed to enter Canada. 

Unvaccinated players who skip the Canadian games are required to forfeit their salary for the games missed.

Dayton Moore, the Royals’ president of baseball operations, said the organization “promotes and encourages individual choices,“ according to ESPN.

"Unfortunately, some of this affects the team,” he said. “We're disappointed in some of that, but we realize it's part of the game and part of the world we live in.”

Merrifield said he might change his mind about a COVID-19 shot if he ends up on a team scheduled to play in Canada during the postseason.

"I'm comfortable with my decision, my teammates support me, support the rest of the guys in here who have made that decision, and that's that,” he said.

Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said “the rules are the rules.”

“We live by them, and the rest of the league lives by them,” he said.

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