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When the Twins travel to Toronto from Detroit on Thursday night, a few of their players will board flights back to Minnesota instead. Their vaccination status — their unvaccinated status, more precisely — dictates it.

Canada currently requires proof that visitors have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to cross the border, and "a few" of the Twins, according to President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey, do not meet that standard. They will be placed on the restricted list — without pay or service-time credit — and flown back home, where they can work out at Target Field while minor league call-ups take their place for three games against the Blue Jays.

"I hate losing players off our team that are going to help us compete. That is disappointing," Falvey said Sunday. "I don't pass judgment on the other decisions. We're here to kind of generally support whatever decisions guys are going to make."

The Twins will not reveal the identities or number of players affected until Thursday, Falvey said, because injuries or other moves could prevent someone from going for another reason, and they prefer not to disclose players' vaccine status before it's necessary. A player earning MLB's $700,000 minimum salary would stand to lose $11,230, three days' pay, with higher-paid players obviously forfeiting much more.

Manager Rocco Baldelli has held meetings during this homestand with some veteran players, he said, allowing them "to go spend some time in the clubhouse and talk to their teammates about what's going on. We're not having a team meeting about it, addressing it directly in that sense, but our guys are aware of what's going on. That's the way that we handle it and I think it can be helpful."

Is he disappointed that some of his players have made a decision that affects their availability?

"I like to have our full group," Baldelli said. "I'm not disappointed in the players themselves. We've had discussions with each and every one of the guys who won't be joining us, but I'll always prefer to have our full group. … But we'll adjust like when we do when guys get injured, just like every other thing we have to work around. I think we are fine."

Assuming there are at least three players restricted from traveling to Canada, baseball rules allow the Twins to replace them without regard to 40-man roster status, and they won't have to clear waivers in order to return to the minors. The normal rules regarding a 10-day waiting period for players recently optioned remain in force, however, meaning infielder Jose Miranda, sent down to St. Paul on Sunday, and righthander Yennier Cano, optioned on Friday, will not be eligible as fill-ins unless there is an injury.

The Twins have been preparing for next weekend since spring training, Falvey said, and have already had what-if discussions about a potential postseason series with the Blue Jays if the travel restrictions have not been eased. And a few unvaccinated players have approached him to say, "I'm sorry. To some degree, I'm sorry this is part of the equation. It's not about the team. It's not about us. It's not about any of us here, obviously," Falvey said. "I appreciated them saying that. But we've got to try and figure out a way to get through it."


  • Right fielder Max Kepler, who left Saturday's game because of tightness in his quadriceps, felt much better Sunday, and the team chose not to place him on the injured list for now. "We'll see how he is [Monday], but everything we got from him early today was reasonably positive on the quad and hip flexor," Baldelli said.
  • Miranda, who batted .164 in his first 19 major league games but was 6-for-14 in his past four starts, was sent back to the Saints in order to make room for Royce Lewis. Miranda's absence could be a short one, however, given Lewis' injury in his first game back.
  • Righthander Joe Ryan and outfielder Gilberto Celestino are still recovering from COVID, Baldelli said, and it's unclear when they will meet the requirements — negative tests, a lack of symptoms — to return to action.
  • Gary Sanchez will end May still without certainty about how much he will earn this year. Arbitration hearings, normally held before spring training but delayed this year by the lockout, are taking place via video conferences on players' off days, and Sanchez's hasn't been held yet. The catcher is seeking $9.5 million, while the Twins have proposed $8.5 million.