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Former Angels Employee Charged in Death of Tyler Skaggs

Tyler Skaggs. Photo by Keith Allison. (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en)

On July 1, 2019, the Los Angeles Angels found out about a tragedy that took place prior to their four-game series in Texas against the Rangers.

Pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found unresponsive in his hotel room and was pronounced dead on the scene. Due to this, the game slated for that day was postponed to the next series against the two teams.

The Halos did win the next day 9-4 in honor of their fallen teammate in an emotionally driven game. In the team’s first home game back, Taylor Cole and Felix Pena combined for a no-hitter, the last one in California since July 13, 1991. This happened to be the day he was born.

The cause of death, which wasn’t revealed until a few months later in October, asphyxia as a result of him choking on his own vomit. They found fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system and following this announcement, the family decided to hire an attorney in Texas to investigate his death.

Eric Kay, a former communications director for the team, told a defense lawyer that he may be made the fall guy two months following the incident. After that, he told federal investigators that he provided the oxycodone and abused it with Skaggs for years.

On Aug. 7, 2020, Kay was arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection to Skagg’s overdose.

According to a CNN article, “After his death, a search of Skaggs’s phone revealed text messages from the day before his death suggesting that he had asked Kay to stop by his room with pills late that evening, court records show.”

If convicted, Kay could face up to 20 years in jail but as of Aug. 28, Kay’s attorney asked the court to push back the indictment deadline as a plea deal is in the works. With this motion, it would delay the indictment to Sep. 24 rather than Sept. 6, the original day.

Prior to his death Skaggs went 7-7, had a 4.29 ERA, gave up 73 hits, 41 runs, and recorded 78 strikeouts. He finished his career 28-38 with a 4.41 ERA and 476 strikeouts.

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