LOS ANGELES—An employee for the Los Angeles Angels told federal investigators he provided the late Major League Baseball pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, 27, with oxycodone and informed two team officials of the pitcher’s drug use prior to his death.
Skaggs, a starting pitcher for the Angels, was found dead in a Southlake, Texas hotel room on July 1 after choking on his own vomit, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. His autopsy revealed evidence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his system at the time of his passing.
DEA agents began investigating Skaggs’ death in an attempt to investigate the source of the fentanyl. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid sometimes found in counterfeit oxycodone, has been linked to a number of high-profile drug-related deaths, including musicians Prince, Tom Petty, and Mac Miller.
Eric Kay, 45, Director of Communications for the Angels, was interviewed on separate occasions by DEA agents in Dallas and Los Angeles where he informed them of his and Skaggs’ abuse of opioids. He told agents of his illegal possession of six oxycodone pills and gave three of those pills to Skaggs approximately two days before the team left California for a game in Texas.
Kay also indicated that Skaggs texted him the day the team left for the road trip game asking him for additional pills, which Kay was unable to provide. He gave DEA agents the names of five other players who he believed were abusing opioids as Angel players, according to ESPN’s staff writer T.J. Quinn.
Kay explained to investigators that he and Skaggs would use drugs together by agreeing that he would obtain the drugs and Skaggs would pay for them. Kay states he informed two team officials of Skaggs’ drug problem, including former Angels Vice President of Communications and Kay’s supervisor, Tim Mead.
On April 22, during a stay at a hospital to recover from an overdose, Kay states he was texted by Skaggs who was seeking drugs. Kay’s mom spoke to Mead, who was at the hospital with Kay and his family, asking him to intervene and get Skaggs off her sons back. He told DEA agents he informed Mead of Skaggs’ drug use in 2017. Mead denies ever being told about Skaggs’ drug abuse.
“I have had a lot of conversations with Eric Kay about a lot of things, but opioids and Tyler Skaggs were not one of them,” said Mead.
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.
Kay has been with the Angels for 24 seasons, starting as a communications staff intern in 1996 and later promoted to the Director of Communications in 2014. He is currently in outpatient treatment for substance abuse and was placed on paid leave from the Angels as officials continue to investigate.