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Angels Employee Supplied Skaggs, Other Players with Opiates

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By Jorge Casuso

October 14, 2019 -- A Los Angeles Angels employee said Sunday he supplied former Samohi graduate Tyler Skaggs with oxycodone for years but doesn't believe it was his pills that killed the pitcher.

Eric Kay, the team's director of communications since 1998, released the statement after ESPN reported Saturday that the 45-year-old employee had told DEA agents he and Skaggs had abused the drug together for years.

"I felt and continue to feel that it is time for everyone to stand up and take responsibility for their respective roles in this," Kay said in the statement from his attorney Michael Molfetta. "Nothing anyone does will ever provide closure for the Skaggs family.

"I can't, the Angels can't, and the courts can't, regardless of what happens there," Kay said. "But at least I can help them 'know' instead of 'wonder.' My hope is that there is some peace in that for them."

According to ESPN's report, two sources said Kay told investigators he "illegally obtained six oxycodone pills and gave three to Skaggs a day or two before the team left California for the road trip to Texas."

But Kay reportedly said he didn't think the last pills he supplied to Skaggs "were the same ones the pitcher took the day he died because Skaggs typically would ingest the pills immediately after receiving them."

According to ESPN's sources Skaggs also texted Kay the day the team left for Texas "seeking more oxycodone, a request Kay told investigators he was unable to fulfill."

According to ESPN's report, two Angels' officials were informed of Skaggs' drug use "long before his death."

ESPN also reported that a source said Kay gave DDA agents "the names of five other players who he believed were using opiates while they were Angels."

Under Major League Baseball's rules, any team official made aware of a player's drug abuse must report it to the commissioner's office immediately.

Responding to the ESPN report, Angels President John Carpino issued a statement saying the team was unaware of the allegations.

"We have never heard that any employee was providing illegal narcotics to any player, or that any player was seeking illegal narcotics," Carpino said.

"The Angels maintain a strict, zero tolerance policy regarding the illicit use of drugs for both players and staff. Every one of our players must also abide by the MLB Joint Drug Agreement.

"We continue to mourn the loss of Tyler and fully cooperate with the authorities as they continue their investigation," Carpino said.

In August, an autopsy conducted by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office in Texas showed that Skaggs had died of an accidental overdose.

Skaggs had fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system when he choked on his vomit after overdosing in his hotel room ("Skaggs Died of Accidental Overdose, Texas Autopsy Finds," August 30, 2019).

After the autopsy results were revealed, the family announced it had hired an attorney to investigate how Skaggs obtained the dangerous drugs.

"We were shocked to learn that it may involve an employee of the Los Angeles Angels," the family wrote.

"We will not rest until we learn the truth about how Tyler came into possession of these narcotics, including who supplied them."

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