Rhys Hoskins fouled a ball off of his face

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Things haven’t been going well for Phillies outfielder Rhys Hoskins lately. In 112 plate appearances since April 28, he’s hitting .134/.234/.247 with two home runs and nine RBI. Hoskins has hit mostly second in the lineup over the last month. His slump has limited the Phillies to a 13-13 record and the club has averaged four runs per game in that span of time, lower than the league average of 4.3 runs per game.

The Phillies were down to their last strike, trailing by a run, last night against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, and it was all up to Hoskins. As if things couldn’t go worse for Hoskins, he swung at a fastball that ran in on his hands, fouling it into his mouth. Hoskins, bleeding from his mouth, left with a trainer and Pedro Florimon pinch-hit, striking out to end the game.

Manager Gabe Kapler was non-committal when asked if Hoskins would be well enough to play Wednesday night. He took the opportunity to give the slumping Hoskins a vote of confidence. Via Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Kapler said, “I want to see how he’s feeling. But, if he’s feeling like he’s healthy enough to play and there is no risk to him playing, he’s always going to be one of our best options.”

Kapler continued, “I think it’s reasonable to say that Rhys has gone through some tough challenges recently, but I don’t worry about him at all. I think he’s as tough mentally as we have on our club. I have a tremendous amount of faith in his mental toughness and his physical capability. That never wavers. There is no doubt in my mind things are going to turn around for Rhys and hes’ going to take off.”

Hoskins, 25, tore up minor league pitching last year, mashing 29 home runs and driving in 91 runs with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, earning a promotion to the majors in August. Hoskins went on to hit 18 home runs and drive in 39 runs in his first 34 major league games. Hoskins also hit well to begin the 2018 season, compiling a 1.098 OPS with four homers in the first 25 games of the year.

Hoskins says he’s going to wear a helmet with the protective flap now:

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.