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Michael Pineda could undergo Tommy John surgery next week

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Yankees’ right-hander Michael Pineda could undergo Tommy John surgery as soon as next Tuesday, according to a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. Pineda sustained a flexor muscle strain and a partial UCL tear in his right elbow and was officially placed on the 10-day disabled list on Friday, retroactive to July 6. The club has recommended Tommy John surgery, but the right-hander is expected to seek a second opinion from Reds’ physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek before moving forward with any treatment plan. Should he choose to commit to the procedure, however, he’ll be sidelined through the first half of the 2018 season, if not longer.

This is the latest in a long line of injuries for the 28-year-old, who dealt with a devastating shoulder injury in 2012 and was beset with elbow issues during his time in the Mariners’ farm system in 2009. He completed his first injury-free season in 2016 and was working toward some career-high numbers during the first half of the 2017 season, pitching to a 4.39 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 over 17 starts and 96 1/3 innings.

Not only is Pineda’s loss a terrible blow for the Yankees, but it will have a significant impact on his chances of landing another gig when he hits free agency this winter. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

We’ve lost somebody of importance to us in Michael Pineda,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “I’m sorry that has happened. First and foremost for Michael, as he approaches free agency, [he was] obviously interested in having a big year. We’ve been interested in benefiting from his performance in helping us win and compete on an everyday basis. This is a significant loss for our team.

While the team hasn’t announced an official replacement for Pineda in the rotation, Hoch notes that they will likely look to acquire affordable pitching depth at the deadline, as they’re not ready to recall top prospect Chance Adams just yet.

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.