Royals patch up roster, now must patch up image

The Kansas City Royals spent Thursday patching up a roster missing 10 players barred from traveling to Toronto because of their COVID-19 vaccination status.

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July 15, 2022 - 5:02 PM

The Kansas City Royals’ Whit Merrifield is under fire for suggesting he would consider getting vaccinated for COVID-19 if he were to be traded to a contender. GETTY IMAGES/JAMIE SQUIRE/TNS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals spent Thursday patching up a roster missing 10 players barred from traveling to Toronto because of their COVID-19 vaccination status while trying to smooth over their damaged image among fans.

Among the nearly 40% of players on the 26-man roster who were left home were All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi, two-time All-Star Whit Merrifield, future cornerstones Kyle Isbel and MJ Melendez and outfielder Michael A. Taylor.

Merrifield was the most expansive among the seven players who discussed their decision Wednesday, claiming “the vaccine, what it’s supposed to do, it’s not doing. If it was doing what it was supposed to do and stopping the spread of COVID (then) I would have a little more willingness to take it, but it’s not doing that.”

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