Red Sox’ Tanner Houck says he is not vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning he will not be eligible to pitch in Toronto

Red Sox starter Tanner Houck revealed to The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams on Sunday that he is not yet vaccinated against COVID-19. As a result, the right-hander will not be eligible to pitch against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The Red Sox will visit Rogers Centre for the first time this season later this month. Houck was in line to start the second of that four-game series on April 26, but will instead miss it due to his vaccination status.

“I think it’s a personal choice for everyone whether they get it or not,” Houck told McWilliams earlier Sunday morning. “So, that’s all I really got to say on it.”

Any individual traveling to Canada must be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Canadian government defines this individual as someone who has received at least two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Travelers must have received the second dose of Moderna/Pfizer or first dose of Johnson and Johnson at least 14 calendar days prior to entering the country.

For the Red Sox, these guidelines apply to their series against the Blue Jays in Toronto from April 25-28, June 27-June 29, and September 30 through October 2.

Besides Houck, it is already known that fellow Boston starter Chris Sale is not vaccinated against the virus. The left-hander is currently on the 60-day injured list as he continues to recover from a stress fracture in his right rib cage, so he was not going to be able to pitch in next week’s series north of the border anyway.

Still, unless either pitcher gets vaccinated or the Canadian government changes its rules, Houck and Sale will not be eligible to travel to or play in Toronto this season.

In Houck’s case, the 25-year-old hurler will be placed on the restricted list during the Sox’ series in Toronto. While away from the team, Houck will be placed on the restricted list and will not receive any pay or service time for the games he misses.

The Red Sox will, however, have the ability to replace Houck on the active roster while he is on the restricted list. Although the club has yet to announce who will take Houck’s turn in the starting rotation on April 26, it would not be surprising if that responsibility fell to Garrett Whitlock, who pitched in relief of Houck on Saturday.

“We knew it beforehand,” Sox manager Alex Cora said following Sunday’s 8-1 win over the Twins. “So, we’ll plan accordingly.”

As noted by McWilliams, Cora also indicated that Houck will not be the only player Boston places on the restricted list for their trip to Toronto. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “the identities of the others are unknown.”

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox quality control coach Ramón Vázquez taking over as team’s first base coach due to Tom Goodwin’s unvaccinated status

Red Sox quality control coach Ramon Vazquez will take over as the team’s first base coach for the remainder of the regular season after coaching there on Tuesday, manager Alex Cora said before Wednesday’s game against the Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Tom Goodwin, who has primarily handled first base coaching responsibilities this season, is not vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning he would not be allowed on the field in the postseason on account of Major League Baseball’s vaccine mandate for non-playing personnel.

Vazquez had previously filled in for Goodwin over the summer when the latter was forced to quarantine in Toronto after being identified as a close contact of bench coach Will Venable, who — despite being vaccinated — tested positive for COVID-19 in August.

Earlier this month, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Major League Baseball “will require managers, coaches, athletic trainers and other non-playing personnel to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to gain access to the field and other restricted areas in the postseason.”

When speaking with reporters prior to Wednesday’s contest with the Orioles, Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) that Goodwin is the only member of the Red Sox coaching staff who has yet to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have to prepare for the postseason, if we get there,” Cora said. “Obviously MLB, they mandated or they decided that the staff has to be vaccinated. As you guys know, Goody is not. So we’ve got Goody on the bench and working with the outfielders. And Ramon will be coaching first the rest of the season.”

As indicated by Cora, Goodwin will remain with the Sox for the remainder of their road trip while still providing instruction to the club’s outfielders, as he has since the start of the 2018 season.

Vazquez, on the other hand, has also been a member of Boston’s coaching staff for the last four seasons. In addition to coaching first base and working with the team’s infielders, he also “serves as a liaison between the major-league club’s advance scouting and statistical analysis efforts for the purpose of presenting information to players and coaches,” per the Red Sox media guide.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo and Ramon Vazquez: Cole Burston/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Garrett Whitlock from COVID-19 related injured list, option Colten Brewer to Triple-A Worcester

Before wrapping up their three-game series against the Angels on Sunday, the Red Sox activated right-hander Nick Pivetta from the COVID-19 related injured list.

In a corresponding move, right-handed reliever Colten Brewer was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced earlier Sunday.

Whitlock was originally placed on the COVID IL on Saturday due to side effects from vaccination. He wound up only missing one game on account of feeling under the weather after receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Through 10 appearances out of the Boston bullpen this season, the 24-year-old rookie has posted a 1.77 ERA, a 2.92 FIP, and a 21:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 20 1/3 innings pitched.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “Whitlock will be available out of the bullpen in Sunday’s series finale but is unlikely to pitch after throwing three innings Thursday night against Oakland.”

Brewer, meanwhile, was not used in the brief amount of time he was up with the Red Sox this weekend after beginning the year in the WooSox’ bullpen.

The 28-year-old hurler has compiled a 4.59 ERA, a 5.14 FIP, and a 77:48 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 69 total appearances (four starts) and 80 1/3 innings pitched in parts of two seasons with Boston since coming over from the Padres in a November 2018 trade.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Garrett Whitlock on COVID-19 related injured list (side effects from vaccination), recall Colten Brewer from Triple-A Worcester

Before taking on the Angels in the second game of a three-game series at Fenway Park Saturday afternoon, the Red Sox placed right-hander Garrett Whitlock on the COVID-19 related injured list due to side effects from vaccination.

In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Colten Brewer was called up from Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Saturday.

As was the case with Nick Pivetta earlier this week, Whitlock was feeling under the weather after receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, hence the move to put him on the IL.

“Whitlock is under the weather for the same reasons as Nick,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said earlier Saturday. “He got his second shot. So we’re going to put him on the COVID IL, and most likely it’s going to be Brewer who is going to be with us.”

Whitlock can be activated at any time since the COVID-19 related injured list does not require a minimum stint.

The 24-year-old last worked in a game against the Athletics on Thursday, so it’s unlikely he would have been available for Saturday’s contest anyway.

Through 10 appearances in what is his rookie season, Whitlock has been thoroughly impressive. Over 20 1/3 total innings pitched, the Rule 5 pick has yielded five runs (four earned) on 17 hits and three walks to go along with 21 strikeouts. That’s good for an ERA of 1.77. Opponents are slashing .227/.266/.347 off him.

Brewer, meanwhile, opened the 2021 minor-league season with Triple-A Worcester and has made just one appearance out of the WooSox’ bullpen thus far.

Originally acquired in a trade with the Padres in November 2018, the 28-year-old hurler has compiled a 4.59 ERA, a 5.14 FIP, and a 77:48 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 69 total appearances (four starts) and 80 1/3 innings pitched in parts of two seasons with the Red Sox.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Nick Pivetta from COVID-19 related injured list, option Eduard Bazardo to Triple-A Worcester

Before wrapping up their three-game series against the Athletics on Thursday night, the Red Sox reinstated right-hander Nick Pivetta from the COVID-19 related injured list.

In a corresponding move, right-handed reliever Eduard Bazardo was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Thursday.

Pivetta was originally placed on the COVID-related IL on Wednesday due to side effects from the second COVID-19 vaccination, so his stay on the injured list turned out to be a short one.

“As you guys know, this is kind of like how people react to the shot,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Pivetta before Thursday’s game. “And he’s feeling better. He’s feeling better. So the hope, obviously, is for him to start tomorrow.”

Through seven starts this season, Pivetta has proven to be one of Boston’s most consistent starters, posting a 3.19 ERA and 3.78 FIP to go along with 35 strikeouts over his first 36 2/3 innings pitched.

As Cora said, the 28-year-old is slated to make his eighth start of the year against the Angels at Fenway Park on Friday night, and that now appears to be official.

Bazardo, meanwhile, heads back down to Triple-A Worcester less than 24 hours after being called up for his second major-league stint of the season.

After making his big-league debut in Minnesota last month, the 25-year-old hurler made his Fenway Park debut in Wednesday’s game against the A’s.

Working the seventh and eighth innings of an eventual 4-1 loss for Boston, Bazardo tossed two scoreless frames of relief while striking out a pair in the process of retiring six of the seven hitters he faced.

Bazardo, who does not turn 26 until September, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 27 prospect in the Sox’ farm system.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)