Rangers sign Wandy Rodriguez to a minor league contract

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After being released by the Braves last week, veteran left-hander Wandy Rodriguez has agreed to a minor league contract with the Rangers.

Rodriguez had a fine showing as a non-roster player with Atlanta this spring and appeared to have a rotation spot locked down at one point. However, the Braves traded for Trevor Cahill last week and opted to go with Eric Stults over Rodriguez for the fifth starter job.

Rodriguez is now 36 and has struggled to stay healthy over the past three years, but he could get an opportunity with the big club if he gets off to a good start with Triple-A Round Rock. With Yu Darvish sidelined, the Rangers are set to go with Yovani Gallardo, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Ross Detwiler, and Nick Martinez in their starting rotation.

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.