Andrew Benintendi ‘open-minded’ about COVID-19 vaccine after joining Yankees

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Newest member of the New York Yankees Andrew Benintendi was one of 10 Kansas City Royals who missed the July series in Toronto due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19.

Now that Benintendi is playing in the same division as Toronto Blue Jaysthe question of his vaccination status comes first.

Andrew Benintendi of the New York Yankees (left) talks to Kansas City Royals catcher M.J.  Melendez during the first half of their MLB game in New York on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Andrew Benintendi of the New York Yankees (left) talks to Kansas City Royals catcher M.J. Melendez during the first half of their MLB game in New York on Thursday, July 28, 2022.
(AP Photo/Franklin II)

On Thursday, Benintendi told reporters that he was not forced to agree to the vaccination before being exchanged.

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“Right now, you know, I’m still in the same place. I’m open-minded about it,” Benintendi said. “I’m not against it, but time will tell when we get closer, but right now I’m just focused on getting here, getting settled, meeting guys and winning baseball games.”

Benintendi's reaction to a hit during the ninth inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals in New York on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Benintendi’s reaction to a hit during the ninth inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals in New York on Thursday, July 28, 2022.
(AP Photo/Franklin II)

In order for Major League Baseball players to enter Canada, they must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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There are still seven games left on New York’s schedule against the Blue Jays, including a three-game streak in Toronto in late September.

“We’ll cross that bridge if and when we need to, but I didn’t have that conversation,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

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Benintendi was purchased Yankee first place on Wednesday for three pitching prospects, adding another bat to the lineup as the team heads into October.

Benintendi takes the field against his former team, the Kansas City Royals, in New York on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Benintendi takes the field against his former team, the Kansas City Royals, in New York on Thursday, July 28, 2022.
(AP Photo/Franklin II)

“I’m more valuable as a guy who can get on base with a higher margin and have a higher average and maybe sacrifice a little strength,” Benintendi said on Thursday. “But obviously in this lineup… It’s crazy. Seems like I just need to get to first base. And everyone on this team can throw bombs. I said help the team in any way I can.”

Benintendi started from left field in his debut for the Yankees against the Royals Thursday night, leading 0-4. became his first All-Star team.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.