Anibal Sanchez could return as a reliever

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Anibal Sanchez landed on the disabled list five weeks ago with a right pectoral strain and suffered a setback late last month, but he’s getting closer to rejoining the Tigers. The big question is whether he’ll do so as a starter or a reliever.

According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, Sanchez threw 25 pitches off the mound this afternoon and is scheduled to throw again tomorrow. While he’s making progress, there might not be enough time to get him fully stretched out as a starter before the postseason. As a result, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus discussed the possibility of using him as a reliever.

“Starting or in the bullpen, he’s certainly a talented and effective pitcher,” Ausmus said. “Absolutely we would much rather have a scenario in which we had to decide how to use Sanchie rather than whether we can use Sanchie.”

“The tough part now with Sanchie would be getting his pitch count up high enough that he could start,” Ausmus said. “If we weren’t able to do that, the likely option would be the bullpen.”

Sanchez led the AL with a 2.57 ERA last season and posted a 3.46 ERA over 21 starts this season prior to the injury. The 30-year-old has made just one relief appearance over nine seasons in the majors.

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.