NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — Andrew Benintendi would not say whether he would be vaccinated for COVID-19 now, as he is with the first-placed New York Yankees instead of the last-placed Kansas City Royals.
A day after New York acquired the 28-year-old All-Star from the Royals for three minor league pitchers, Benintendi scored 0 for 4 with a strikeout in an HS Yankees debut, 1-0 on his former team on Thursday night. Won from. Benintendi hit the leadoff and played left field.
He was among 10 Royals who missed the four-match series in Toronto from 14–17 July because they were not vaccinated and could not enter Canada. He lost $186,813 out of his $8.5 million salary.
The Yankees have a three-match series in Toronto from September 26-28.
“Right now, you know, I am still stationed in the same place. I am open-minded about it,” said Benintendi. “I am not against it, but as we get closer, time will tell, but for now For the time being, I’m just focused on getting here, relaxing, getting to know people and winning a baseball game.”
Benintendi had yet to discuss the issue with his new team.
“If and whenever we have to cross that bridge, but I haven’t had that conversation,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Benintendi had arrived in New York with the Royals and was in his hotel room when the Royals’ manager Mike Matheny briefed him about the business at around 11 p.m. on Wednesday.
“It’s a strange situation,” Benintendi said. “Obviously it was with them yesterday and now I’m going against them today.”
Matheny knew business was possible before the flight but kept the possibility to himself.
“We couldn’t do anything and try to respect the rules made by the league and let Medical go ahead,” Matheny said. “We landed and still couldn’t say anything, so I leaned outside his door and made sure he didn’t run away.”
Matheny got General Manager JJ Piccolo and team president Dayton Moore on speakerphone when he told Benintendi.
“Lucky and grateful to the Yankees that we were able to have that conversation in person for as long as they could,” Matheny said. “He personally deserved that conversation.”
As the word spread among the Royals, many people took to Twitter and other social media, many players gathered in Benintendi’s room to wish him well. Some got stuck playing cards with their old mates. One well-wisher was Bobby Witt Jr., whose locker was located directly next to Benintendi at Kaufman Stadium.
“I got to talk to him a lot about baseball,” Witt said of his time as a teammate. “He’s a great guy both on and off the field so he’s really looking forward to continuing his success.”
Benintendi had to switch from No. 16 to No. 18 with the Yankees – 16 is retired for Whitey Ford.
Hitting .320 with three homers, 39 RBI and a .788 OPS this season, Benintendi should fit in well with an offense that has scored the most runs in the majors.
“Has been a guy who has got championships, has been battle-tested. Clearly played a key role in the Red Sox run in ’18, was an important man for them,” Boone said. – Had star caliber season, a guy who gets on base, great bat-to-ball skills, good defender in left field. I’m really excited to have him.”
Tim Locastro was selected to open the roster spot for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Boone plans to keep his new addition in left field for the most part, a position where he won a Gold Glove last year. Aaron Judge could see more time in right field rather than center, and Aaron Hicks could see time in center instead of left.
“I think that makes us more versatile, gives us some more balance,” Boone said of Benintendi.
Benintendi was currently staying at the Royals hotel.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen there,” he said. “There’s still a lot of information to be found so just trying to process everything.”
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