Astros “making a strong effort” for Phillies ace Cole Hamels

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported Monday night that the Astros are legitimate suitors for Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, and now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is hearing much of the same

Houston looks like a safe bet to contend for a long time, so there should be some attraction there.

Hamels, who is under contract on a relatively good deal through 2019, owns a 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 137/39 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings this season for the 37-63, last-place Phillies. He’s coming off a no-hitter Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field, the first of the 31-year-old’s illustrious major league career.

Hamels would join Dallas Keuchel and Scott Kazmir in an excellent, postseason-ready Astros 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.