John Buck announces his retirement after 11 seasons

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Veteran catcher John Buck, who was trying to win a job with the Braves on a minor-league contract, announced his retirement after 11 seasons in the majors for seven different teams.

Buck was signed in late January, after the Braves had already signed A.J. Pierzynski to serve as the veteran backup behind Christian Bethancourt. He had a good spring at age 34, hitting .320 with a 1.052 OPS in 12 games, but clearly the Braves had already settled on Pierzynski taking the job.

Buck debuted with the Royals as a 23-year-old in 2004 and spent the first six years of his career in Kansas City. He moved on to the Blue Jays in 2010 and made his lone All-Star team, hitting .281 with 20 homers and an .802 OPS. And then he hit just .216 with 44 homers and a .656 OPS in 388 games from 2011 through the end of his career.

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.