Phillies manager Joe Girardi and some of his staff members received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine last month as the team begins the first steps toward reaching the vaccination threshold required by Major League Baseball before being permitted to loosen safety protocols.
Teams have to adhere to strict COVID-19 protocols until 85% of their traveling party is vaccinated. The league has strongly encouraged players and staff to get vaccinated. They can loosen certain health and safety protocols if they reach the threshold.
The Phillies are still likely ways away from reaching 85% as Girardi and his staff members were able to be vaccinated based on age.
“We’re not asking to cut in line. We’re not asking to do that,” said Girardi, who is 56 years old and was vaccinated in Florida. “I think some states are more open than others and it allows it to happen quicker. We happen to be in Pennsylvania and we haven’t asked to cut in any lines. We’re just basically following the rules.”
Baseball is dealing this weekend with the first COVID-19 outbreak of the season as four Washington Nationals tested positive. MLB postponed Washington’s season-opening series against the Mets, who will now begin their season on Monday in Philadelphia. The Phillies were paused for more than a week last summer after playing the Marlins, who had a COVID-19 outbreak.
“I think everyone is looking to get to that point. Just so it could be normal,” Girardi said of the 85% threshold. “You don’t really know how much you miss something until it’s gone and you have to do something different.”
The Phillies players will likely have to wait until later this month when the state changes their eligibility requirements for the vaccine. Some teams have already reached the 85% threshold because their states allowed them to be vaccinated.
“I’m not pushing it on the players because that’s a decision where they have to be comfortable with,” Girardi said. “Whatever they decide, I’ll roll with and we’ll do what we have to do.”
Adam Haseley was out of Saturday’s lineup after leaving Thursday’s opener with hamstring tightness, but is expected to start Sunday in center. ... Zach Eflin is starting Sunday’s series finale against right-hander Ian Anderson. ... The Phillies will face Mets ace Jacob deGrom on Monday.