The Kansas City Royals want fans to know they tried to get their players vaccinated ahead of the 2022 MLB season. The team sent out a tweet highlighting its "multiple free COVID-19 vaccine events" moments after placing 10 unvaccinated players on the restricted list prior to the team's game in Toronto.
Andrew Benintendi is among the biggest names to miss the road trip to Toronto. He and nine other players, including Hunter Dozier, Brad Keller and Whit Merrifield, hit the restricted list Thursday. Under that announcement, the Royals touted their commitment to educating the public about the viability of vaccines. It was a not-so-subtle shot at those on the team who refuse to get the shot.
The Royals have hosted multiple free COVID-19 vaccine events for the community and encourage all to be vaccinated and safe so we can live our fullest lives, in and away from the ballpark. For more information visit: https://t.co/uihVWJrJnL
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) July 14, 2022
MLB players who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 are prohibited from entering Canada due to the country's COVID-19 policy. Teams traveling to Canada usually place a handful of unvaccinated players on the restricted list for games against the Blue Jays, though that number is usually much lower than 10. Those players are not paid and do not receive service time for the games they miss.
Though the Royals' tweet appears aimed at those players who chose to not get vaccinated, it's tough to be too complimentary about the team's efforts. The Royals still have 10 unvaccinated players on their roster, a massive figure compared to other teams around the league.
While teams can't force players to get the COVID-19 vaccine, other franchises, like the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, were able to convince everyone on the team to receive a vaccine, even those who were initially hesitant.
Royals without 10 players as team heads to Canada
Some of the Royals' best players won't be available against the Blue Jays. Benintendi is the team's sole All-Star in 2022, Keller started the second game of the season and Dozier and Michael A. Taylor are among the team's strongest offensive players.
Even with those players, the team hasn't been effective. The Royals have a 35-53 record, the second-worst in the American League.
That's unlikely to improve after the series with the Blue Jays. Though the team just fired manager Charlie Montoyo, Toronto is 47-42 in a tough division. The Royals' depleted lineup will have a tough time doing damage against a strong Blue Jays roster.