Royals will be without 10 players for Blue Jays road series due to vaccination status

USATSI

The Toronto Blue Jays will host the Kansas City Royals for a four-game series starting on Thursday. The Royals will be without a big chunk of their roster, too. In fact, 10 players will be placed on the restricted list, according to MLB.com.

The Canadian government requires players to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to cross its borders for games. Many teams have been affected by the restrictions, though the Royals have a far bigger contingent of unvaccinated players than any other team we’ve seen to this point.

The players:

Pretty much every team thus far that has visited the Jays in Toronto has had a set of players who haven’t gotten the vaccine and were then placed on the restricted list, but this is on another level. In fact, only 25 players in total have been placed on the restricted list before series in Toronto for this reason so far, reports ESPN. The Royals will push that number to 35 in one fell swoop.

With these roster losses, the Royals will have to dip down into Triple-A and possibly even Double-A to cover themselves for the series, which then causes roster ripples throughout the minors to fill out starting lineups at every level for the weekend. With Salvador Perez on the injured list right now, they’ll lose both catchers from the big-league roster. Dozier is the everyday starter at first and Merrifield — while he’s banged up at the moment — is the starter at second. Isbel would normally be the fill-in for Taylor in center while Benintendi starts at right.

That is to say, the Royals will be replacing starters at five spots and in two of those spots the backups are also unavailable. Singer’s spot in the rotation was Wednesday, so his status doesn’t change anything, but Keller’s spot in the rotation was due Friday, so they’ll need a replacement there, too.

The timing for the Blue Jays couldn’t be much better. They’ve lost nine of their last 11 games heading to Wednesday night’s action and fired manager Charlie Montoyo Wednesday afternoon. Facing a severely depleted roster from a 35-53 team for four games before the All-Star break should, at least in theory, be a nice opportunity to get back on track.

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