NEW YORK — The World Series champion Red Sox will visit the White House without their best player. American League Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts said late Saturday night that he would not make the trip on May 9.
“I won’t be going there,” Betts told the Globe. “I decided not to.”
Betts made his comments following the New York Baseball Writers’ Association of America dinner, where he received the MVP trophy.
Betts joins third baseman Rafael Devers in saying he would not visit the White House. Lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez said it was unlikely he would attend. Two others players, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and infielder Eduardo Nunez, were undecided as of last week.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora appears unlikely to attend but has not announced a final decision. Cora has said he is troubled by actions the Trump administration has taken involving his native Puerto Rico.
Betts did not give a reason for his decision other than to say he had thought about it and decided he would not go.
Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Brock Holt, Brian Johnson, Mitch Moreland, Steve Pearce, Rick Porcello, Chris Sale, and Blake Swihart have said they would attend.
Red Sox ownership has said the trip is not mandatory.
The Sox were initially scheduled to visit the White House on Feb. 15 but postponed the trip because of the government shutdown. It was then shifted to May after the team plays a three-game series in nearby Baltimore.
The Patriots visited the White House in 2017 after winning the Super Bowl. But more than two dozen players — Tom Brady among them — declined to make the trip. Several cited political reasons.
The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles had their invitation to the White House rescinded last June when it became apparent only a small number of players would attend.
The 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros made their visit last March without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran, both Puerto Ricans.