Goldschmidt, Arenado among Cardinals missing Blue Jays series over vaccination rules

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Cardinals stars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado won't be playing in next week's series against the Blue Jays. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Cardinals stars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado won't be playing in next week's series against the Blue Jays. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals will be lacking some serious firepower next week when they travel to Toronto for a two-game series against the Blue Jays.

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt, third baseman Nolan Arenado and catcher Austin Romine will not make the trip due to their vaccination status, Cardinals president John Mozeliak told reporters on Sunday, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Canada requires visitors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — a rule that is also in place for travel to the United States.

The three players will be placed on the restricted list, meaning they will not be paid for the two contests they are absent for. Relief pitcher Johan Oviedo will not accompany the team due to an expired passport.

Goldschmidt and Arenado are the two biggest stars forced to miss a series in Toronto this season. Other notable players include Max Kepler, Dylan Cease, Andrew Benintendi, Whit Merrifield, Tanner Houck, Tyler Mahle, Aaron Nola and J.T. Realmuto, who was particularly vocal about not being allowed to play north of the border.

“It’s an extremely unfortunate situation,” the Philadelphia Phillies catcher said earlier this month. “I’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.”

Goldschmidt is having an MVP-calibre season in 2022, slashing .333/.416/.603 with 22 home runs in 92 games. Arenado is also putting up big numbers with a .299/.363/.534 slash line of his own. Both players are seven-time All-Stars.

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