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Astros call up Kyle Tucker

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The Astros promoted top prospect Kyle Tucker in advance of Saturday’s game against the White Sox. Per an official statement from club manager A.J. Hinch, Tucker is slated to make his MLB debut and will play left field and bat seventh.

The 21-year-old outfield prospect was ranked no. 1 in the Astros’ system prior to the 2018 season and no. 8 among the league’s current prospect class. After decimating the competition in Single- and Double-A over the last three years, he was bumped up to Triple-A Fresno this year and raked .306/.371/.520 with 14 home runs, 14 stolen bases, and an .891 OPS through 371 plate appearances.

While his speed and power make him a double threat at the plate, his versatility and arm make him an appealing choice in the outfield as well. He split the bulk of his starts in the minors between right and center field, but is primarily thought to be a corner outfielder at the major league level. He’ll likely share time with Josh Reddick, Tony Kemp, and Marwin Gonzalez in the near future.

The Astros are scheduled to face off against the White Sox at 4:10 PM EST today, with Charlie Morton on the hill against Chicago’s James Shields. Houston currently leads the series 2-0.

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.