June 7, 2023
The Red Sox will return to the U.S. from Toronto by bus, not by plane, to avoid stranding anyone who tests positive.

The Red Sox will return to the U.S. from Toronto by bus, not by plane, to avoid stranding anyone who tests positive.

Win or lose, when the Boston Red Sox leave the Rogers Centre after their game against the Blue Jays Thursday evening, they won’t be flying out of Toronto. Instead, they will take a two-hour bus ride to Buffalo and fly from there to Baltimore for their game on Friday against the Orioles.

The team’s circuitous route means they will cross the border from Canada to the United States on the ground, and not in the air. That matters because anyone boarding an international flight to the United States must show a negative result on a recent coronavirus test — but there is no such requirement for land crossings.

The Red Sox are willing to tolerate the additional travel time from Toronto to eliminate the risk of having to leave anyone behind — player or staff member — who might test positive in Canada.

The Blue Jays did the same maneuver earlier this month, driving 100 miles to Buffalo and then flying to Boston from there for their series at Fenway Park.

Major League Baseball does not mandate that players receive the coronavirus vaccine, and the players’ collective bargaining agreement exempts them from individual team mandates. But Canada requires all arriving travelers, including professional athletes, to have been fully vaccinated — at least two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or one of the Johnson and Johnson — at least 14 days before entering the country.

As a result, two Red Sox pitchers, Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford, could not make the trip to Toronto, because they are not vaccinated. “I think it’s a personal choice for everyone, whether they get it or not,” Mr. Houck told a reporter for The Boston Globe.

The Red Sox were also without their manager, Alex Cora, for their games in Toronto on Monday and Tuesday nights and for four games in Tampa because he tested positive for the coronavirus last week. Mr. Cora, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, got negative results twice on PCR tests Wednesday morning, and was cleared by Major League Baseball to rejoin the team on Wednesday night. At least two players and two staff members also received positive test results last week.

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