Angels knew of Tyler Skaggs’ drug use ‘long before his death’

Paola Ditto
Ottobre 13, 2019

A rep for the Angels denied knowledge of any of that, saying in part.

Eric Kay, the team's director of communications, told U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents that he gave Skaggs oxycodone a day or two before he left for Texas, but said that he didn't believe they were the same pills the player took the day he died, sources told ESPN.

Kay's attorney confirmed to Quinn the details of Kay's statements to the DEA, but wouldn't allow his client to comment.

Skaggs died on July 1 while the Angels were in Texas to face the Rangers after choking on his vomit.

Kay, who ESPN reported had been in drug rehab treatment twice this year, took a leave of absence from the club prior to the August 30 release of an autopsy report that showed Skaggs had oxycodone, fentanyl and alcohol in his body at the time of his death.

-Kay told agents he believes there were five other Angels who abused opiates.

"Agents initially learned about oxycodone transactions between Kay and Skaggs after reviewing text messages between the two, according to the sources". Mead and Kay's mother were visiting Kay at the time. However, in a statement released on Saturday by Angels President John Carpino, the team denied Kay's corroboration.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Skaggs - who was drafted by Angels in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft and traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks - was in his fourth year back with the Angels and had made 15 appearances in total this season, recording a 7-7 record and 4.29 ERA in 79.2 innings. Mead says he was unaware of Skaggs' use, though he was aware of Kay's.

Asked if he was ever aware that Skaggs used opioids before his death, Mead said, "No". Moreover, Kay says at least two other Angels employees knew about Skaggs' drug use long before the pitcher's death this year. Every one of our players must also abide by the MLB Joint Drug Agreement.

Kay told investigators he would get drugs for both him and Skaggs, and Skaggs would pay for them, sources said. Kay reportedly watched as Skaggs snorted three lines of crushed pills in his hotel room in Southlake, Texas, on the night before he was found dead. He claimed to DEA investigators he does not believe the deadly pills came from him, partly because Skaggs would normally ingest the drugs as soon as he delivered them.

Kay is said to have been placed on paid leave, and is also reportedly in outpatient treatment himself for substance abuse.

Kay told investigators that Angels longtime Vice President of Communications, Tim Mead, who now works with the Baseball Hall of Fame, had known about Skaggs' drug use since 2017. The use of oxycodone is strictly prohibited by Major League Baseball. "MLB will fully cooperate with the government investigation and conduct its own investigation when the government investigation is completed".

At the time of his death, Skaggs family issued a statement saying, "We are heartbroken to learn that the passing of our beloved Tyler was the result of a combination of unsafe drugs and alcohol".

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