Chad Billingsley is close to joining the Phillies’ rotation


Philadelphia’s starting rotation may soon get some much-needed help, as Jim Salisbury of reports that veteran right-hander Chad Billingsley “has nearly completed his comeback from two elbow surgeries.”

Billingsley will begin a minor-league rehab assignment Friday at Triple-A and “could be in the Phillies’ rotation sometime during the third week of April.” Assuming everything continues to go smoothly with his comeback, of course.

Billingsley, who signed an incentive-laden one-year deal with the Phillies, spent seven-plus seasons as a solid mid-rotation starter for the Dodgers. He posted a 3.65 ERA in 1,175 innings and if he’s healthy for the first time since 2012 could emerge as the Phillies’ second-best starter.

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.