Jackie Bradley Jr. entered spring training atop the Red Sox’s center field depth chart, but his struggles and Grady Sizemore’s successful comeback changed those plans. Sizemore was announced today as the Opening Day center fielder and Boston has decided to send Bradley back to Triple-A.
There was some opportunity for the Red Sox to have kept Sizemore and Bradley on the roster, but it makes more sense for Bradley to play every day in the minors and be ready in case Sizemore struggles or has more bad luck with injuries.
Bradley opened last season in the majors, but hit just .189 with 31 strikeouts in 37 games and spent most of the season at Triple-A, where he batted .275 with 10 homers and an .842 OPS in 80 games. Odds are he’ll see extended action for the Red Sox this season, but it may have to wait a couple months.
The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents have interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Among the players questioned: Andrew Heaney, Noé Ramirez, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. An industry source tells NBC Sports that the interviews by federal agents are part of simultaneous investigations into Skaggs’ death by United States Attorneys in both Texas and California.
There has been no suggestion that the players are under criminal scrutiny or are suspected of using opioids. Rather, they are witnesses to the ongoing investigation and their statements have been sought to shed light on drug use by Skaggs and the procurement of illegal drugs by him and others in and around the club.
Skaggs asphyxiated while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his Texas hotel room on July 1. This past weekend, ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Los Angeles Angels’ Director of Communications, knew that Skaggs was an Oxycontin addict, is an addict himself, and purchased opioids for Skaggs and used them with him on multiple occasions. Kay has told DEA agents that, apart from Skaggs, at least five other Angels players are opioid users and that other Angels officials knew of Skaggs’ use. The Angels have denied Kay’s allegations.
In some ways this all resembles what happened in Pittsburgh in the 1980s, when multiple players were interviewed and subsequently called as witnesses in prosecutions that came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. There, no baseball players were charged with crimes in connection with what was found to be a cocaine epidemic inside Major League clubhouses, but their presence as witnesses caused the prosecutions to be national news for weeks and months on end.