Red Sox righthander Tanner Houck revealed Sunday morning he’s still not vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I think it’s a personal choice for everyone whether they get it or not,” Houck told the Globe before his team’s 8-1 win against the Twins. “So, that’s all I really got to say on it.”
While it isn’t a league mandate that players receive the vaccine, it is a requirement for travelers going to Canada. That means Houck, who was in line to start next Tuesday in Toronto against the Blue Jays, won’t be allowed to travel or pitch in that game.
In order to enter Canada, the country requires at least two doses of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The second dose of Pfizer or Moderna — or the one dose of Johnson and Johnson — has to come at least 14 calendar days prior to entering the country.
“We knew it beforehand, so we’ll plan accordingly,” manager Alex Cora said, adding that there are additional Red Sox players who won’t be available for the four-game series beginning a week from Monday due to vaccination status.
Those players will be placed on the restricted list, meaning they won’t be paid or accrue service time for the games. Oakland placed three players on the list prior to its series at Rogers Centre this weekend.
Houck admitted not being eligible to pitch as a result of the mandate isn’t a good feeling.
“I’m definitely bummed that I won’t be able to make that start,” Houck said. “But the starts that I am able to make, I plan on giving 100 percent for this team, if not moreso. Anything I can do for this team to help them win, I’ll do it.”
Houck has made two starts so far this season, including 5⅔ scoreless innings against the Twins in Saturday’s 4-0 win.
Garrett Whitlock, who was stretched out as a starter during spring training and is the Sox’ main multi-inning pitcher, could be a candidate to take Houck’s spot Tuesday.
Rich Hill pitching with pride Monday
Rich Hill’s father, Lloyd Hill Sr., passed away Friday at the age of 94. Hill Sr. ran in 37 Boston Marathons. His son will get his second start of the year on Marathon Monday, after leaving the team Wednesday to be with his family. “He’s in a good place,” Cora said. “Obviously, you know, thoughts and prayers with his family. It’s tough, but he’s in a good place. He’s going to go out there and pitch. I know it means a lot to him, his family, and to us.” Hill went 4⅓ innings in his start against the Tigers on Tuesday, allowing five hits and three earned runs, though those were at least in part due to some sloppy play behind him . . . Josh Taylor (back) pitched in his first rehab outing Sunday at Triple A Worcester. Taylor threw 16 pitches, allowed a run on a homer, and struck out one. In that 19-11 loss to Lehigh Valley, Jarren Duran went 1-for-4 with a walk as the designated hitter. He had missed nine straight games after testing positive for COVID-19.
Julian McWilliams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.