John Gast exits early with shoulder injury

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Cardinals starter John Gast exited today’s start against the Dodgers after recording just three outs. Gast walked Scott Van Slyke on five pitches to lead off the second inning before being taken out of the game with shoulder tightness, tweets Jenifer Langosch. This was the third start of the 24-year-old’s young career. He had allowed six runs in 11.1 innings prior to today’s start.

Joe Kelly relieved Gast, retiring the three Dodgers he faced in the second inning. Kelly is one option to replace Gast if the injury requires a stint on the disabled list. Prospect Michael Wacha is another option. Wacha, who turns 22 on July 1, has a 2.05 ERA in 52.2 innings with Triple-A Memphis.

Gast joins teammates Chris Carpenter, Jason Motte, Jake Westbrook, Jaime Garcia, and Fernando Salas as Cardinal pitchers to succumb to injury issues through the first eight weeks of the season.

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.