Newly acquired Whit Merrifield says he's received COVID-19 vaccination, will be able to play in Toronto for Blue Jays

Whit Merrifield said Thursday that he has received the COVID-19 vaccination, clearing the way for him to be able to play home games in Canada for his new team, the Toronto Blue Jays.

Merrifield's vaccination status had been a question in the wake of his Tuesday trade from the Kansas City Royals to the Blue Jays. The two-time All-Star was among 10 players on the Royals who were unvaccinated last month, preventing them from making their trip to Toronto.

But Merrifield cleared up his status upon meeting the media for the first time as a member of the Blue Jays on Thursday.

"I've understood for a couple of weeks now that this might be a possibility," Merrifield told reporters. "I'll be in Toronto when the team is there."

When asked last month about his decision not to be vaccinated, Merrifield drew the ire of Kansas City fans then by saying: "Something happens and I happen to get on a team that has a chance to go play in Canada in the postseason, maybe that changes.''

He acknowledged Thursday he "probably could have handled (that) a little better."

"But what's happened, happened," Merrifield said. "I'm excited to be a Blue Jay. Excited to get to Toronto and play in the Rogers Centre as my home.''

The 33-year-old Merrifield made his Blue Jays debut on Thursday night, going 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in a 9-3 win against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.

Toronto manager John Schneider said Merrifield will play almost every day in a variety of positions, most likely second base and center field.

The Blue Jays return to Toronto on Aug. 12 for the start of a six-game homestand.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.