Asked on Tuesday if he was vaccinated, given the city’s mandate, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge said, “I’m so focused on just getting these first games of spring training so I think we’ll cross that bridge when the times comes. But right now, so many things could change. So I’m not really too worried about that right now.”
Judge was placed on the league’s Covid-19 related injured list after attending the 2021 All-Star Game in July in Denver and testing positive for the coronavirus. He proceeded to miss nine games. Because of other positive cases, potential exposures and testing, the league postponed the Yankees’ first game back from the All-Star break, on July 15 against Boston, which had not reached the vaccination threshold.
The Red Sox, who had a significant virus outbreak last season, were the only one of the 10 teams in the postseason last year that had not reached that mark. Since arriving to spring training, Red Sox players such as Xander Bogaerts and Christian Arroyo told reporters they have since been vaccinated.
M.L.B. and the players’ union each declined to comment on Tuesday, as did the Mets.
“On behalf of the Yankees, Randy Levine is working with City Hall and all other appropriate officials on this matter,” a Yankees spokesman said in a statement, referring to the team’s president, a former deputy city mayor. “We will have no further comment at this time.”
Over the weekend, Yankees Manager Aaron Boone told reporters that he was concerned about his players not being able to play in Canada, saying, “We still have a few guys, at least, who are not vaccinated.”
Canadian border restrictions currently do not allow unvaccinated foreign visitors to enter the country without special exemptions. And a special status issued by the Canadian government for unvaccinated athletes, which allowed them to cross last year, ended in January.
As M.L.B. and the union negotiated a new labor agreement, they also agreed that any player who is unable to play in any games as a result of any government regulation because of his vaccination status “may be placed” temporarily on the restricted list, where pay and service time are lost. Service time determines players’ eligibility for salary arbitration and free agency.