Matt Harrison to undergo MRI on stiff back

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After missing most of last season with a pair of procedures to repair a herniated disk in his back, Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison continues to have some bad luck on the health front.

T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that Harrison is dealing with stiffness in his lower back and will return to Texas to be examined by a specialist. The southpaw was scratched from throwing live batting practice Tuesday due to stiffness in his neck, but it has now moved down to the general area where he had surgery last year, though on the opposite side. That’s still cause for concern, so the Rangers will have him undergo an MRI and get checked out.

The Rangers will already be without Derek Holland until midseason following knee surgery, so losing Harrison for the start of the season would be a tough blow. As of now, Yu Darvish, Martin Perez, and Alexi Ogando are considered locks for the rotation while Colby Lewis, Tommy Hanson, Robbie Ross, and Nick Tepesch would be in the mix for the final two spots if Harrison isn’t ready to go.

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.