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Mets place T.J. Rivera on the 10-day disabled list with a partial UCL tear

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The Mets placed third baseman T.J. Rivera on the 10-day disabled list with a partial UCL tear in his right elbow, the team announced Friday. The assignment is retroactive to Thursday, when Rivera sat against the Padres during the finale of a four-game set in San Diego. Second baseman Neil Walker was activated from the 10-day disabled list in a corresponding move and is slated to make his first start of the second half against the Mariners on Friday.

The exact cause of Rivera’s injury is unknown, but the New York Times’ James Wagner reports that the infielder was dealing with arm soreness for an unspecified length of time and was seen wearing a tennis elbow wrap prior to his stint on the DL. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo adds that Rivera has already received a platelet-rich plasma injection to treat the injury and will wait to see if it takes before resorting to Tommy John surgery. This is the first substantial injury the third baseman has sustained since he was called up to the majors last August.

Rivera, 28, slashed .290/.330/.430 with five home runs and a .760 OPS through his first 231 PA of 2017. He made the bulk of his starts at third base, but logged some time at first and second and was expected to help fill in for first baseman Lucas Duda, who was dealt to the Rays for relief prospect Drew Smith on Thursday.

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.