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Elephant Rumblings: Former Angels employee convicted in Tyler Skaggs overdose death

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MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Normally, I’d wish the members of Athletics Nation a happy Friday, but we’re heading into this weekend on a sad note.

On July 1, 2019, America’s opioid epidemic visited tragedy upon the baseball world when Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in Southlake, Texas prior to a series opener with the Texas Rangers. His autopsy indicated that fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol were in his system and led to his death by choking on vomit. He was 27.

Yesterday, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reported that a jury convicted Eric Kay, a former Angels communications director, on two charges: distributing oxycodone and fentanyl to Skaggs since “beginning or before 2017,” and providing him with the drugs that he overdosed on (non-paywalled link to other sources below). Kay now faces 20 years to life in federal prison pending sentencing in June.

The Skaggs family attorney, Rusty Hardin, stated that “the Angels knew what Eric Kay was doing, and the team is morally and legally responsible for his conduct.” The family intends to hold the organization accountable in upcoming civil proceedings. Five other former Angels testified that Kay supplied them with opiates; among them was Matt Harvey, who may face suspension for his involvement.

Athletics Nation offers renewed condolences and sympathy to Tyler’s family, friends, former teammates, and all those most deeply affected by this terrible loss. If you or someone close to you is struggling with opioid abuse or dependency, please seek help before it is too late. A good place to start is the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services SAMHSA National Helpline.

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