Taijuan Walker will make another rehab start at Triple-A

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Mariners starter Taijuan Walker has been moved up to Triple-A Tacoma to make one more rehab start, reports Bob Dutton of the News Tribune. Walker is taking the Blake Beavan’s spot in Tacoma’s rotation, as the Mariners tabbed Beavan to fill in for the injured James Paxton in the big league rotation. Beavan will start Tuesday against the Rangers.

Walker has made two rehab starts to date. In his first, on April 4 at Single-A, he allowed two runs (one earned) in 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking one. In his second, on April 9 at Double-A, Walker allowed no runs on three hits and a walk while striking out ten in five innings.

While Walker has had good results, manager Lloyd McClendon wants his pitcher to get stronger:

“He needs to continue to get stronger,” McClendon said. “He needs to continue to command all of his pitches. He’s progressing well. We’re very pleased with where he is at this point.

“We just need to get that pitch count up, that pitchability up a little more.”

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.