Steve Pearce
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Red Sox place Steve Pearce on 10-day injured list

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The Red Sox have placed first baseman Steve Pearce on the 10-day injured list with a lower back strain, the team announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, infielder/outfielder Sam Travis was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

It’s been a disheartening season for the 36-year-old Pearce, who has already spent some time on the injured list after rehabbing a calf strain last month. He lasted just one inning during Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Yankees and exited in the second inning after experiencing back spasms in his first and only at-bat of the night. Through Friday, he’s batting a lackluster .180/.245/.258 with five extra-base hits, nine RBI, and a .503 PA across 99 plate appearances this season.

With fellow first baseman Mitch Moreland also on the mend from a back strain and knee discomfort, the Red Sox will likely turn to some combination of Michael Chavis and Brock Holt at first base. Travis is also expected to see some time there, and may finally see a breakthrough at the plate after carrying a .251/.359/.371 batting line in Triple-A this spring.

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.