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What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s action

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There are a handful of games being played this evening, but everyone’s eyes will be on the MLB Draft, which starts at 7 PM EDT. We’ll have a post on that with rolling updates so make sure you check that out. The Phillies pick first, but there is no absolute No. 1 pick, so it will be interesting to see how the first five picks or so pan out.

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Pittsburgh Pirates (Jeff Locke) @ Colorado Rockies (Chad Bettis), 5:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Jhoulys Chacin) @ New York Yankees (Ivan Nova), 7:05 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Tyler Wilson) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Marcus Stroman), 7:07 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) @ Cincinnati Reds (Brandon Finnegan), 7:10 PM EDT

Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler) @ Minnesota Twins (Ervin Santana), 8:10 PM EDT

New York Mets (Bartolo Colon) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson), 8:10 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Gio Gonzalez) @ Chicago White Sox (Miguel Gonzalez), 8:10 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin) @ Seattle Mariners (Nathan Karns), 10:10 PM EDT

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.