Jake Arrieta expected to miss start of season after bout with shoulder soreness

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Jake Arrieta was expected to compete for a rotation spot with the Cubs this spring, but it sounds like he’ll have to wait to get his opportunity.

According to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said today that Arrieta felt shoulder tightness over the winter and is not expected to be ready for the start of the season. While he’s feeling good now, the Cubs were forced to restart his throwing program, so the calendar just isn’t working in his favor.

Arrieta, who turns 28 in March, was acquired from the Orioles last July in the Scott Feldman deal and went on to post a 3.66 ERA and 37/24 K/BB ratio in 51 2/3 innings over nine starts. He owns a 5.23 ERA over 72 starts and six relief appearances in the majors.

As of now, Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel are assured of spots in Chicago’s rotation. Assuming Arrieta is out of the mix, Carlos Villanueva, Chris Rusin and James McDonald will compete for the fifth spot.

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.