The Toronto Blue Jays have not played at Rogers Centre in Toronto since Sept. 29, 2019. Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via the Associated Press

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays were given approval from the Canadian government on Friday for an exemption on border restrictions that would allow them to play in Canada later this month.

The Blue Jays had asked the federal government to allow them to play at Rogers Centre starting July 30 and wanted a response by Friday.

“After nearly two years away, the Toronto Blue Jays are finally coming home to Canada beginning July 30,” the team said in a statement.

“The club was granted a National Interest Exemption by the federal government that allows Major League Baseball games to be played at Rogers Centre, with robust health and safety protocols in place.”

The Blue Jays played home games during the shortened 2020 season in Buffalo, New York, and started this season in Dunedin, Florida, before moving to Buffalo. The Canadian government didn’t allow the team to play in Toronto because of the risk of spreading COVID-19, citing frequent travel required in the U.S. during a baseball season.

“No place like home,” the Blue Jays tweeted.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the decision was made in conjunction with the Public Health Agency of Canada, with the approval of provincial and municipal public health officials.

Mendicino said the plan includes significant limitations on unvaccinated individuals, “who will have to undergo a modified quarantine, not be permitted to go anywhere but the hotel and stadium and have no interaction with the general public.”

He said there will also be a designated compliance officer for each team.

“Anyone who breaches these stringent conditions will have their exemptions revoked and may also be subject to fines or prosecution under the Quarantine Act,” he said.

The U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel, though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week those restrictions could end in mid-August.

Major League Baseball requires an exemption for unvaccinated players and team staff to play games in Canada. As of this month, fully vaccinated players who have valid work permits are no longer required to complete a 14-day quarantine upon entry into Canada, but some teams have players who are not vaccinated. A quarantine exemption and protocols around that need to be approved.

Talks between the Blue Jays and federal government accelerated over the last day.

ROCKIES: Manager Bud Black, first base coach Ron Gideon and four players were not available for Colorado’s home game Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the clubs still planned to play. Right-handers Antonio Senzatela, Yency Almonte and Jhoulys Chacín and outfielder Yonathan Daza were added to the COVID-19 IL.

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts, who managed the NL team, said players and staff from Los Angeles have gone through two rounds of testing. Those all came back negative prior to Friday’s game against the Rockies in Denver.

Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond will manage Colorado while Black is out, and Major League Data & Game Planning Coordinator Doug Bernier will coach first base. The club promoted left-handers Ben Bowden and Zac Rosscup, right-hander Antonio Santos and outfielder Sam Hilliard. The Rockies are also among the teams to reach 85% vaccination.

NATIONALS: Washington infielder Starlin Castro was placed on administrative leave Friday by Major League Baseball under its domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy.

The leave was imposed under the policy adopted by MLB and the players’ union in 2015 and can be the initial step leading to a longer suspension. The administrative leave — during which a player is paid but cannot play for up to seven days — has been extended for players under the policy in the past while MLB investigates an allegation.

WHITE SOX: Chicago reinstated reliever Aaron Bummer from the 10-day injured list and recalled right-hander Reynaldo López from Triple-A Charlotte.

The AL Central leaders also optioned relievers Matt Foster and Jace Fry to their top farm club.

ASTROS: Houston activated All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa from the injured list.

Correa was placed on the IL last week due to health and safety protocols. He skipped Tuesday’s All-Star game so he could spend time with his wife, Daniella, who is expecting the couple’s first child.

FRIDAY’S GAMES

PHILLIES, MARLINS SPLIT: Jesús Aguilar homered and drove in four runs, Starling Marte went deep with three RBI, and Miami won 7-0 in Philadelphia to split a doubleheader.

Jordan Holloway (2-2), recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville on Friday as the 27th man, didn’t allow a hit in five innings of relief after Ross Detwiler opened with a scoreless first. Holloway stuck out six and walked two. Richard Bleier completed the two-hitter with a scoreless seventh.

In the opener, Travis Jankowski drove in four runs and Matt Moore struck out nine while pitching into the fifth inning to lead the Phillies to a 5-2 win.

BLUE JAYS 10, RANGERS 2: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. followed up his breakout All-Star Game with two homers, and Toronto powered past Texas in Buffalo, New York.

All-Stars Teoscar Hernández and Marcus Semien homered for Toronto along with Randal Grichuk, and Robbie Ray held Texas scoreless over 6 2/3 innings.

Guerrero, named the All-Star MVP on Tuesday night, connected off Texas starter Jordan Lyles in the first inning to make it 1-0 and added a three-run blast in the sixth against Dennis Santana, his 30th of the season. That led to chants of “M-V-P!” from the crowd of 10,100 as the Blue Jays opened their final stretch of games in their temporary Buffalo home. The team received approval from the Canadian government on Friday to return to Toronto for the homestand that begins July 30.


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