Jeff Francis accepts Rockies’ assignment to Triple-A

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In adding Roy Oswalt to the rotation ahead of tonight’s start the Rockies demoted Jeff Francis to Triple-A. Because he’s a veteran Francis had the ability to reject the assignment and become a free agent, but Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the left-hander has decided to remain with the Rockies in the minors.

Francis has been terrible in his second go-around with the Rockies, which began last season, starting 35 games with a 5.89 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .311 with a .510 slugging percentage. His odds of finding another big-league deal were non-existent and betting on the Rockies go give him another chance seems like a smart move.

Since posting a 17-9 record as a 26-year-old in 2007 he’s gone 22-44 with a 5.19 ERA in 596 innings.

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.