Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Cardinals stars Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt ineligible to play in Toronto over COVID vaccination status

Cardinals stars Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt ineligible to play in Toronto over COVID vaccination status

St. Louis will be without its two best players for a two-game series in Canada this week

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The St. Louis Cardinals will be without their two best players when they take on the Blue Jays in Toronto on Tuesday and Wednesday. Third baseman Nolan Arenado and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, both members of the National League All-Star team, will not be allowed to travel with the team into Canada because neither is vaccinated against COVID-19, team president John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Canada, like many other countries, including the United States, requires travelers entering its borders to be inoculated against COVID-19. As such, while the Blue Jays would appear to have an advantage for their home games, they’re unable to roster any unvaccinated players for their trips into the United States, a dynamic that reduces the group of players they’re able to acquire or employ at any given time.

Arenado and Goldschmidt represent two of the biggest names to miss games over the COVID-19 vaccination. Arenado has batted .299/.363/.534 (155 OPS+) with 18 home runs in his first 90 games this season. Goldschmidt, meanwhile, has hit .333/.416/.603 (190 OPS+) with 22 home runs in 92 contests. Both are likely to receive Most Valuable Player Award consideration come the fall.

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The Cardinals will be allowed to replace Arenado and Goldschmidt on their active roster, but it’s fair to say they’ll be suffering from a downgrade — one that, in theory, could end up costing them in the National League Central. The Cardinals entered Sunday with a 51-45 mark on the regular season, putting them 1 1/2 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s possible, then, that the division could be decided by a game or two, perhaps even these games that they’ll play without two of their top stars.

The Cardinals, by the way, will also be without catcher Austin Romine (unvaccinated) and pitcher Johan Oviedo (expired passport).

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