Brian Fuentes taking over A’s ninth-inning role

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Another day, another new closer in MLB.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, A’s manager Bob Melvin announced late Saturday night that veteran lefty Brian Fuentes will take over as the team’s new ninth-inning man.

Grant Balfour, who is sporting a 4.41 ERA and 11/6 K/BB ratio through 16 1/3 innings this season, has been demoted back to his old setup role.

“It’s where I feel most comfortable, and I believe I can get the job done,” Fuentes told reporters on Saturday after being informed of Melvin’s decision. “It’s good to know he has that confidence in me.”

The 36-year-old southpaw has posted a 3.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 12/2 K/BB ratio in 14 frames this year.

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.