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Jimmy Nelson to undergo shoulder surgery

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Brewers’ right-hander Jimmy Nelson will undergo surgery to address a right rotator cuff strain and partial anterior labrum tear, per a report by MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. The club placed him on the 10-day disabled list early on Friday, but have given no indication that he’ll pitch again this season. The specifics of the procedure are pending further evaluation on Tuesday, and McCalvy adds that it may be a routine clean-up procedure rather than something more invasive. Until then, there’s no telling how long he’ll be sidelined.

Nelson was diagnosed with the shoulder strain following his start against the Cubs last Friday, when he hurled five shutout innings before leaving with arm soreness on a bad slide into first base. He’s put up career-best numbers this year, going 12-6 in 29 starts with a 3.49 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 through 175 1/3 innings in Milwaukee.

Even without their ace, the Brewers have found ways to stay competitive for the division title. They entered Friday’s opener against the Marlins with a 3.5-game deficit in the NL Central and a 2.5-game deficit in the wild card race. Milwaukee skipper Craig Counsell is trying to keep things flexible, he told reporters, which has meant more exercise for the bullpen over the last several weeks. “When you get into this mode, I think it’s all hands on deck,” Counsell said Friday. “That’s the mode we’re in. The players have completely bought into that, I think. Things change. That’s what this time of year produces. It’s not unsettling at all, it’s just the mode we’re in.”

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.