Former Team Employee Charged in Death of MLB Pitcher


A former employee of the Los Angeles Angels has been arrested in connection with the 2019 drug overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Skaggs, 27, died July 1 of last year in his hotel room while his team was staying in Southlake, Texas, during a series against the Texas Rangers.

According to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Skaggs died after ingesting fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid he had obtained from Eric Prescott Kay, the Angels’ director of communications at the time.

Kay, 45, was charged Friday with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, according to U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox in a news release.

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“Suppressing the spread of fentanyl is a priority for the Department of Justice,” she added.

Speaking on behalf of the DOJ, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez also commented on the arrest.

“Fentanyl does not discriminate in its potential deadly consequences,” he said.

“With the prevalence of fentanyl in many of the counterfeit prescription drugs sold on the streets, every pill taken could be your last. The Dallas DEA mourns not only with the Skaggs family, but with all families who have endured loved ones taken too soon due to a drug overdose,” Chavez added.

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Chavez vowed the DEA will remain vigilant with regard to investigating those suspected of trafficking fentanyl.

“As with Mr. Kay’s arrest, we will continue to identify and investigate those who distribute these drugs to ensure they face justice,” Chavez said.

Kay was arrested in Fort Worth and appeared in federal court Friday morning.

The former Major League Baseball employee was implicated after his phone showed he and Skaggs had exchanged text messages about drugs, the government said.

The federal government stated that in its investigation, agents found that Kay allegedly had dealt drugs to Skaggs and others on a regular basis.

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Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room at the Southlake Town Square Hilton.

According to a medical examiner, he died from a drug overdose after ingesting ethanol, fentanyl and oxycodone. Federal authorities said fentanyl was the cause of his death.

In seven major-league seasons, Skaggs had a 28-38 record and a 4.41 earned-run average. He was a native of Woodland Hills, California.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.