Smoltz, Leiter refuse vaccine, will work remotely

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John Smoltz and Al Leiter are not making in-studio appearances for MLB Network after refusing to get the coronavirus vaccine, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Wednesday because they aren’t at liberty to publicly discuss personnel matters.

The MLB Network’s policy making it mandatory for all employees to be vaccinated took effect Wednesday. Smoltz and Leiter will still do analysis for studio shows, but it will be remotely instead of from the network’s Secaucus, New Jersey, studio.

The New York Post was the first to report the story. MLB Network declined to comment in an email to the AP.

Smoltz, 54, is also the lead analyst on Fox’s coverage of the MLB, making the calls on the biggest games, including the World Series.

Leiter, 55, is also a Mets advisor.

Leiter has been a part of MLB Network since it went on the air in 2009. Smoltz joined MLB Network the following year and has been a part of Fox’s top MLB team since 2016.

Guardians trade OF Will Benson to Reds for OF Justin Boyd

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Guardians traded outfielder Will Benson to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday for outfielder Justin Boyd.

The defending AL Central champions also will get a player to be named from the Reds in the swap.

Cincinnati drafted Boyd in the second round last year out of Oregon State. He led the Pac-12 with a .373 batting average and 24 steals in 2022. The 21-year-old batted .203 in 73 at-bats for Class-A Daytona.

The 6-foot-5 Benson spent 28 games with the Guardians last season, batting .182 with three RBIs in 28 games. The 24-year-old struggled at the plate, striking out 19 times in just 55 at-bats.

Benson was once considered one of Cleveland’s top outfield prospects, but has since been surpassed by Steven Kwan, Oscar Gonzalez and Will Brennan.