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Jarren Duran says he'll be available for Red Sox next time team plays in Toronto

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Alex Cora is on his way to winning a $1 bet. Cora said Wednesday that Boston's vaccination status would change by the time his team returned to Toronto in September, and at least one unvaccinated member of the Red Sox has changed their tune about getting the shot. 

Leadoff man Jarren Duran couldn't travel to Canada for this week's three-game series with the Blue Jays because he was unvaccinated against COVID-19, but said Friday in Chicago that he'll be available the next time the Red Sox head north.

"I love this game too much to miss out on opportunities to play baseball. I could care less about the money or service time. I missed the boys and missed playing baseball. That was kind of the deciding factor," Duran said Friday, according to MassLive's Chris Cotillo.

Duran has been great at the top of the Boston order in place of the injured Enrique Hernandez, hitting .327 with nine runs scored over 13 games. But he knows availability is the best ability, so being available for what could be three crucial games against a divisional foe at the end of the regular season greatly improves his chances of remaining on the roster the rest of the season.

While Duran says he will be available, it's unclear if closer Tanner Houck will be able to finish off those games for Boston come September. The Sox could have used him in Toronto, as the bullpen blew a 5-4 lead in the ninth inning in the second game of the series. Boston ended up losing two of three against the Jays.

On Friday, Houck would not say if he will be vaccinated by the time Boston returns to Toronto in September.

Boston starter Chris Sale, who said he was unvaccinated back in March, also didn't want to discuss his vaccination status following his rehab outing in Portland on Thursday night.

"Today's today. Tomorrow's going to come. We'll figure that (expletive) out then," said Sale.

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