Joe Mauer
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Joe Mauer announces retirement

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Former Twins first baseman Joe Mauer has announced his retirement from Major League Baseball, according to a letter that was published on MLB.com on Friday. While there had been several hints that the six-time All-Star was nearing the end of his time with the club, Mauer revealed that he hadn’t felt ready to make an official decision until he stood on the field for the final game of the 2018 season.

The answer I was searching for came into sharper focus during my last game,” Mauer wrote, “a game I will never forget and a day where I felt like everything I was questioning started to become clear. As I stood on the field in my catcher’s gear, something I never thought would be possible again, I realized in that moment that this is how I wanted to finish my career. I wanted to finish on my home field in front of our amazing fans, my family, my friends, my teammates, and the organization that means so much to me. Being able to do that for a brief moment as a catcher, made that day even more incredible than I could have imagined.

It wasn’t just a sense of closure that gave Mauer the courage he needed to step away from a long, illustrious run with the Twins, however. He sustained a severe concussion during the 2013 season, one that compromised his ability to stick behind the plate and forced a permanent switch to first base. A host of other injuries — including a thigh injury, back strain, and lingering concussion symptoms — plagued the infielder in the years to follow, culminating in his decision to enter retirement for the sake of his health and his family.

Over 15 years with the Twins, the 35-year-old infielder holds a lifetime .306/.388/.439 batting line, six All-Star designations, three Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers and the 2009 AL MVP award. He also earned several distinctions in the league as the first AL catcher to earn a batting title, which he tacked onto his MVP season with a league-leading (and MLB record for a catcher) .365 average and .444 OBP across 606 PA for Minnesota.

In addition to the letter that was released on Friday, Mauer is expected to announce his retirement in the Sunday edition of the Star-Tribune as well.

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.