Matt Harrison experiences minor setback in rehabilitation from spinal fusion surgery

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Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison underwent lumbar disc fusion surgery last June, appearing in only four games during the 2014 season. He had been making steady progress this fall and winter in his recovery from the career-threatening lower-back procedure, but here comes the first bump in the road …

Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Harrison has put off moving his throwing program from 90 feet to out 105 feet because he is experiencing tightness in his right hip. The hope is that it’s merely a mechanical issue and that he’ll be caught up in a few weeks.

“Being able to rotate and being able to square back up when I throw the ball,” Harrison told the Star-Telegram on Saturday about the hip discomfort. “Kind of cutting stuff off [in my delivery] because I wasn’t able to to rotate like I want to. So that’s one thing we’ve been really working on is getting that hip loose.”

Harrison signed a five-year, $55 million contract extension with the Rangers before the 2013 season and is still owed $41.6 million. He posted a 3.34 ERA (132 ERA+) in 399 innings between 2011-2012.

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.