Mariners won’t limit rookie Michael Pineda’s workload

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Back in April the Mariners indicated that they planned to limit Michael Pineda’s workload, but never got into specifics as pitching coach Carl Willis said: “We’ll come up with a number, maybe another month in.”

We’re now another two months in and apparently they’ve changed their minds, at least somewhat, as Willis told Greg Johns of MLB.com that they plan to “manage his game-to-game pitch count and inning-to-inning pitch count” instead of removing Pineda from the rotation at any point.

Pineda is on pace to throw 200 innings after throwing 139 innings in the minors last season, but manager Eric Wedge told Johns that he believes the amount of high-pressure work is more important to monitor than the 22-year-old rookie’s overall innings count.

Pineda has thrown 96 innings with a 2.59 ERA, .199 opponents’ batting average, and 94/27 K/BB ratio, so his dominance along with the Mariners surprisingly being just 1.5 games out of first place may have changed the team’s focus somewhat regarding Pineda. That temptation is certainly understandable, but hopefully they can still find a reasonable way to keep him from adding 50 percent more innings to last year’s workload.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“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 said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.