Cardinals leave A.J. Pierzynski, Jason Motte off NLDS roster

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St. Louis’ playoff roster for the NLDS will not include A.J. Pierzynski, who filled in at catcher while Yadier Molina was hurt, or Jason Motte, who was the team’s standout closer before blowing out his elbow.

Molina is back and will start every playoff game, so the Cardinals preferred Tony Cruz as his backup after Pierzynski hit just .244 with one homer and a .600 OPS in 30 games.

Motte saved a league-high 42 games for the Cardinals in 2012, but then he missed all of 2013 and struggled this year with a 4.68 ERA and seven homers allowed in 25 innings.

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.