Phillies star Realmuto missing Blue Jays series over vaccine

JT Realmuto is among the Phillies players who won't be able to play in this week's series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.  (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

JT Realmuto is among the Phillies who won’t be able to play in this week’s series against the Blue Jays in Toronto. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Phillies will be shorthanded as they begin a two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Center on Tuesday.

JT Realmuto, Alec Bohm, Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson were all unable to make the trip north of the border due to Canadian restrictions on unvaccinated travellers.

Nola and Gibson weren’t scheduled to pitch in the series and Bohm left Monday’s game with an injury, but Realmuto figured to appear in at least one of the two contests. The catcher does not seem to have any regrets about his decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, even though it will reduce his team’s chances of winning games and cost him financially.

β€œIt’s an extremely unfortunate situation,” Realmuto told reporters on Monday. β€œI’m a healthy 31-year-old professional athlete. I just didn’t feel a need to get it. I’ve had COVID a couple times, super-mild symptoms, back when it first came out.

“When it came time to decide whether I needed the vaccine or not, talking to doctors that I knew and told them my story, I decided I didn’t think I needed it. I wasn’t going to take it just because I was told, basically. What’s money? I’m not going to let Canada tell me what I do and don’t do with my body. For a little bit of money, it’s just not worth it.”

That “little bit of money” is reported to be closed to $260,000 as Realmuto is in the middle of a five-year contract worth over $115 million.

The Phillies are certainly not the first team having to place star players on the restricted list for a series in Toronto. Several other franchises have missed key pieces against the Blue Jays, with the Minnesota Twins being particularly vocal about the rules.

The Blue Jays are coming off an abysmal 1-6 road trip and have just one victory in their past 10 games. The Phillies enter the series on a mini two-game slide.

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