MLB notebook: Angels reportedly knew of Skaggs' drug use

A Los Angeles Angels employee admitted to federal investigators that he provided oxycodone to Tyler Skaggs, used the drug with the late pitcher for years, and that the team knew about Skaggs’ drug abuse, ESPN reported Saturday.

Jul 1, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; The San Diego Padres pay tribute to Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs before a game against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Kay, the Angels’ director of communications, also told the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that five other players used opiates while with the team, according to an investigation by the network’s “Outside the Lines.”

Skaggs, 27, was found dead in a hotel room in Southlake, Texas, on July 1 when the Angels were in town to meet the Texas Rangers. His autopsy report, released Aug. 30, said Skaggs had oxycodone, fentanyl and alcohol in his system and listed the cause of death as choking on his own vomit.

“We have never heard that any employee was providing illegal narcotics to any player, or that any player was seeking illegal narcotics,” Angels president John Carpino said in a statement responding to the report Saturday. “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.”

--The San Francisco Giants will interview former Philadelphia Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler to fill the position vacated by manager Bruce Bochy, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported.

Kapler, 44, was fired Thursday after compiling a 161-163 record with no playoff appearances in two seasons with the Phillies. He has a strong relationship with Giants president Farhan Zaidi from their time together in Los Angeles, per the report.

Bochy, 64, retired after 25 seasons as a manager with the Giants and San Diego Padres. He compiled a 2,003-2,029 record, including a 1,052-1,054 mark during a 13-year tenure in San Francisco that included World Series triumphs in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

--David Freese, the 2011 World Series Most Valuable Player with the St. Louis Cardinals, announced his retirement after 11 seasons.

Freese, 36, spent the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing mostly first base, and also spent time with the Los Angeles Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates.

He is best known for his postseason heroics in St. Louis, as his 21 RBIs in 2011 set an MLB record for a single postseason. Freese also was named the 2011 NLCS MVP and was an All-Star in 2012.

--Washington Nationals pitcher Daniel Hudson defended his decision to leave the team for the first game of the National League Championship Series to be on hand when his wife gave birth, saying he learned of online criticism despite having deleted his social media accounts some time ago.

The team placed him on paternity leave so that he could be there when Millie, the couple’s third child, was born in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday morning. After getting the save to help the Nats take a 2-0 series lead over St. Louis on Saturday, Hudson said he had no regrets.

“Life comes at you fast, man. I don’t know how that happened and how I became the face for whatever conversation was going on. Everybody’s got their opinions, man, and I really value my family and my family time.”

--The New York Yankees added outfielder Aaron Hicks and veteran left-hander CC Sabathia to the 25-man roster prior their American League Championship Series opener against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Hicks, 30, has been out since Aug. 3 due to a flexor strain in his right elbow. The 39-year-old Sabathia, in his 19th and final season, has dealt with injuries to his right knee and left shoulder.

Utility man Tyler Wade and first baseman Luke Voit, who were both on the ALDS roster, were left off the ALCS roster.

--The Astros left Wade Miley off their roster for the ALCS after the left-hander experienced major difficulties late in the season.

The 32-year-old Miley had a 16.68 ERA in September, allowing 21 runs over 11 1/3 innings, then gave up three runs (two earned) and four hits in 2 2/3 innings against Tampa Bay in the ALDS.

Utility man Myles Straw also was left off the roster, while right-handers Brad Peacock and Bryan Abreu were added, leaving the Astros without a left-handed pitcher against the Yankees.

--Field Level Media