One of the newest members of the Toronto Blue Jays cleared up concerns over his vaccination status on Thursday, as Whit Merrifield told reporters he has been vaccinated against COVID-19. Merrifield will be able to travel north of the border when the team concludes its road trip and returns home on Aug. 12.
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Toronto acquired Merrifield from the Kansas City Royals right at the buzzer of Tuesday's MLB trade deadline in exchange for prospects Samad Taylor and Max Castillo. Merrifield was not vaccinated when the Royals travelled to Toronto in July, but expressed a willingness to get the jab if he was traded to a contender.
He must have done so prior to the trade deadline, as the Canadian government requires travellers to have received their second dose (or first of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) 14 days before entering the country. Merrifield did not elaborate on when he became fully vaccinated.
Merrifield is having a down season in 2022, slashing .240/.290/.352 with six home runs to go along with 15 stolen bases in 18 attempts. Those numbers are weighed down by a slow start to the year, and the 33-year-old posted a much more respectable .286/.345/.481 slash line in 20 games in July.
The two-time All-Star has never shown much power but has been one of MLB's most consistent contact hitters and speed threats over his career. He led the majors in hits in both 2018 and '19, and was the American League's most prolific base-stealer in 2017, '18 and '21.
Merrifield offers plenty of defensive versatility and can reliably slot in at second base or any of the three outfield positions. He figures to see plenty of action with centre fielder George Springer dealing with an elbow issue and second baseman Santiago Espinal going through a cold streak at the plate.
Manager John Schneider pencilled Merrifield into the eighth spot in the batting order in his Blue Jays debut, playing centre field against the Minnesota Twins.
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