Team leader Kyle Schwarber says Phillies' clubhouse supports unvaxed teammates


ST. LOUIS – Kyle Schwarber is more than the National League leader in home runs.

He’s the leader of the Phillies’ clubhouse.

So, how does the room feel about going to Toronto for a big series down a few good men?

“We got each other’s back,” Schwarber said. “There isn’t one hard feeling.”

Players unvaccinated for COVID-19 are prohibited from traveling to Canada. On Monday afternoon, Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced that the team would be without Alec Bohm, J.T. Realmuto, Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson for the two-game series against the Blue Jays that begins Tuesday night.

Nola and Gibson were not scheduled to pitch in the series and Bohm now looks doubtful after leaving the Busch Stadium field in pain in the second inning of Monday night’s game against the Cardinals.   

Garrett Stubbs will start at catcher in place of Realmuto on Tuesday night and Rafael Marchan will come up from the minors to be the backup.

Bohm, regardless of the reason, and Realmuto are significant losses and their absences could potentially swing a game.

The Phillies will deal with it, according to Schwarber. No one in the clubhouse feels like an unvaccinated player is letting the team down.

“Just because we're headed to Toronto doesn’t mean someone is being a bad teammate because they didn’t get it, right?” he said. “It all comes down to a personal decision. It’s unfortunate that Canada is not letting people in that will be in a controlled environment, but we can’t tell a government what to do.

“It is what it is. Trust me, I have (the vaccine), but I don’t push it on people. It’s people’s own decision. If you want to get it, great. If you don’t, fine. I’m not going to treat you any differently nor should anyone. This is a little weird blip here, going into another country to play a baseball game.”

The Phils are fortunate it is just a two-game series. Dealing with a brief, two-game loss of a player or two is not unusual. And if the absence of a player leads to a loss on the field in Toronto, Schwarber would not feel like that player let the team down.

“I wouldn’t feel that way, and I definitely think that is shared throughout the room,” Schwarber said. “It’s life. It kind of goes bigger than a game. It can go to your personal or religious beliefs.

“We’re playing a game. Guys have made decisions for themselves. We just have to go out and win a baseball game. This is a team game. We don’t point fingers after we lose a game. If we go up there and win two games, we win two games. If we go up there and lose two games, we lose two games. If we split, we split.”

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