So far so good with Yasmany Tomas playing third base

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When the Diamondbacks signed Yasmany Tomas for $68.5 million the assumption was that they’d use him in the outfield, where he spent most of his time in Cuba, but the team announced that he’d get a long look at third base.

So how’s it going so far? Here’s an update on Tomas as a third baseman, via rookie manager Chip Hale:

He’s working every day. … I mean, talk about a guy that really wants to learn, he’s been fantastic. … I mean, this is before spring training, but I’m very encouraged with what I see with his feet and his hands. We can push him a little harder each day on stuff. We’re just going to see how it goes. His capability to take in information and put it into play right away is impressive. He’s got the basics down.

Tomas was signed mostly for his power bat, but if he can eventually play a passable third base that would give the Diamondbacks a lot of other lineup options. For now Arizona’s outfield depth chart includes A.J. Pollock flanked by some combination of Mark Trumbo, David Peralta, and Cody Ross.

Skaggs Case: Federal Agents have interviewed at least six current or former Angels players

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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.