Rhys Hoskins said he plans to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, but the first baseman is unsure if the Phillies will reach the vaccination threshold required for them to loosen their COVID-19 safety protocols as other players are either undecided or opposed to vaccination.
“I think there’s enough information and data out there,” Hoskins said before Friday night’s series opener in Atlanta. “A lot of medical experts are pushing for people to get it. I think as a general statement, believing in what science is saying is usually a pretty safe and logical bet. When it does become available, I will be getting it.”
Phillies manager Joe Girardi and some of his staff were vaccinated in Florida before the team finished spring training. The players will likely have to wait until at least April 19, which is when the city said all Philadelphians over 16 will be eligible for a vaccine.
The Phillies have not yet been told when or how the vaccine will be offered, but Hoskins said the team has supplied the players with “plenty of information.”
“Do I think that we’ll get to 85%? I’m not sure,” Hoskins said. “I know there’s some guys in the clubhouse who can’t wait to get it and there’s some guys who are kind of in the wait-and-see and try to gather as much data about this as possible before they make a decision. That’s probably how it’s going to be for the next couple months.”
“It’s such a tough situation just because each guy has their own opinion on it and it’s something that’s obviously been such a polarizing topic not only in our game but in our nation over the last year, six months, however long you want to go back.”
Major League Baseball told teams last month that they can relax their restrictions once 85% of their traveling party is vaccinated. Some of the relaxed restrictions include no longer wearing masks in the dugout or bullpen, no more contact-tracing devices, and some added freedoms when traveling such as eating at indoor restaurants on road trips. Teams also can hold their traditional pregame meetings indoors.
“I do think guys are looking forward to getting back to quote-unquote normal,” Hoskins said. “Being able to walk into the clubhouse and feel normal in the clubhouse and us being able to have as many hitters meetings that we want. Those types of things just aren’t normal anymore. There’s a lot of guys I think who are looking forward to getting that feeling back. Whether or not we get to 85% still remains to be seen.”
Girardi said last week that the vaccination was “a personal decision” and he assumed there would be players who are hesitant and others who were eager to receive it. Phillies closer Hector Neris said he doesn’t want the vaccine but wasn’t sure about any of his teammates. Girardi said he would support his players however they decide.
The Cardinals were the first team to reach the 85% threshold while the Brewers and Yankees were both vaccinated this week. The Yankees scratched third baseman Gio Urshela from Friday night’s game with side effects from being vaccinated on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
“I think it just gives guys who are on the fence a little bit more information to make a decision,” Hoskins said of Girardi being vaccinated. “Maybe they’re worried about getting symptoms during the season because I know that’s something that’s a concern to some people. They can talk to Joe or talk to somebody else who has gotten it. ‘Hey. What was it like? What can I do to make sure I don’t get these symptoms?’ Those types of things. Hopefully, that does push guys so we can get over that 85% number.”
Rollins, Utley honor Dodgers
Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley were both a part of the Dodgers’ ring ceremony on Friday as the team celebrated last season’s World Series title.
Each Dodgers player was introduced by their favorite player, who gave a short speech on the video board at Dodger Stadium. Rollins, who played for the Dodgers in 2015, introduced Mookie Betts while Utley, who was traded to the Dodgers in 2015 and retired with them at the end of 2018, introduced Cody Bellinger.
The Phillies brought five players -- utility player Luke Williams, catcher Edgar Cabral, right-handers Enyel De Los Santos and J.D. Hammer, and outfielder Travis Jankowski -- on the road trip as the taxi squad. The players can join the team if a player is injured or placed on the COVID-19 injured list. ... Zach Eflin will start Saturday night against Braves right-hander Ian Anderson.