The concern and consternation surrounding the vaccination status of Robbie Ray and the possibility of not having the veteran left-hander available to pitch in potential playoff games in Toronto can now end for the Mariners and their fans.
On Tuesday the Toronto Globe and Mail reported that the Canadian government plans “to drop the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for people who enter Canada by the end of September, the same day it ends random testing of arrivals and makes optional the ArriveCan app.”
It must be approved by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to go into full effect.
With the Major League Baseball postseason not starting until Oct. 7, postseason-eligible teams wouldn’t have to worry about unvaccinated players being unable to enter Canada. The current guidelines require a 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated people entering Canada.
“It’s good,” Servais said. “It’s good for all the teams, for anybody that could possibly go into Toronto. It is one less thing to worry about. If there were certain players where that was a question, now it won’t be a question. We can just go play baseball.”
It creates an even playing field for postseason teams traveling to Canada.
“The Blue Jays probably aren’t happy about it, but the other teams are,” Servais said.
When the Mariners traveled to Toronto in May, Ray and reliever Drew Steckenrider, who was later designated for assignment and outrighted to Tacoma due to poor performance, did not make the trip with the team and were placed on the restricted list, not receiving pay for those games.
Though some sources indicated that Ray would consider getting vaccinated if the Mariners were to reach the postseason, other sources in the organization expected him to remain steadfast in his refusal.
Had the requirements remained in place, Ray would’ve had to get the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine by Wednesday at the latest to be eligible to participate, per MLB sources.
Per the Globe and Mail story, “the changes, for arrivals at land, air and sea ports of entry, are planned for Sept. 30, but have yet to be finalized by cabinet, according to four sources The Globe is not naming because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.”
The Canadian government has been receiving pressure from airline, travel and tourism industries to relax the rules surrounding international travel and entry into the country, believing it was too limiting in comparison to other countries, who have relaxed standards.
The United States policy requiring proof of vaccination for entry by air does not apply to U.S. citizens, nationals and green-card holders, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Eugenio Suarez returned to the Mariners after spending Monday in Phoenix meeting with a hand specialist
Suarez suffered a small fracture in the index finger of his right hand on Friday in Anaheim and was placed on the 10-day injured list.
The hand specialist’s assessment of the injury was the same — a small fracture with no other issues. Suarez took a few ground balls with his injured hand behind is back. He said hopes to resume swinging a lighter fungo bat and possibly hitting off a tee by the weekend.
The throwing aspect may take longer. The large amount of nerves in the fingers is an issue. The Mariners hope that Suarez could be activated from the injured list after the minimum of 10 days and serve as the designated hitter while the finger continues to heal.
Cal Raleigh’s sore left thumb is improving but not to the point where Servais is ready to put him back into the lineup. He’s available to play in only emergency situations.
“He hasn’t swung or done anything in the cage,” Servais said. “It’s possible that he starts swinging tomorrow.”