Health

Yankees: Judge dodges response on COVID vaccine

Yankees star Aaron Judge on Tuesday avoided answering directly about whether or not he is vaccinated because New York City mandates that all private-sector employees be inoculated against the coronavirus.

“I remain focused on getting ready for the first game of the preseason,” Judge said from the team’s practice complex in Florida. “That will be seen when the time comes. But right now, a lot of things can change. I don’t worry about that right now.”

Like Kyrie Irving, the star of the Brooklyn Nets, unvaccinated players in the Yankees and Mets will not be able to perform at home due to the city’s edict on private enterprise, which took effect on December 27.

The order covers all activity by a sports team, whether indoors or outdoors. A city official not authorized to speak publicly said the season is still a month away, too far to make a determination about what will happen as the city monitors COVID-19 cases.

In a statement, the Yankees said team president Randy Levine “is dealing with the city and other involved officials on this matter.”

The Yankees open their season at home against the Boston Red Sox on April 7.

Judge is a three-time All-Star and is a leader in the Yankees’ clubhouse. He is coming off a .287 and 39-homer season, placing fourth in the American League Most Valuable Player voting. He may be a free agent at the end of this season, but he has expressed a desire to sign long-term with New York.

Even if New York’s order is lifted, the Yankees’ unvaccinated players would miss nine games in Toronto against the Blue Jays. The Canadian government requires that an individual receive a second dose of the vaccine — or one from Johnson & Johnson — at least 14 days before entry.

The Yankees will make their first visit to Toronto for a three-game series beginning May 2 against their Eastern Division rivals.

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