Blue Jays closer Ken Giles is day-to-day after developing some nerve inflammation in his right arm, club manager Charlie Montoyo revealed Saturday.
“During the break, he felt great and then he went [and] got a massage, and from that he got nerve inflammation and that’s why he didn’t pitch today,” Montoyo said in a quote captured by MLB.com’s Alexis Brudnicki. It’s not yet clear when Giles might return to the mound, as he was ruled out for Sunday’s series finale against the Yankees.
Giles, 28, has been spectacular when healthy. Prior to his recent setback, he racked up 13 saves with a 1.45 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 15.4 SO/9, and 1.4 fWAR through 31 innings in 2019. While it seems unlikely that he’ll be sidelined for long, there’s increasing pressure to make a quick recovery as the Blue Jays have been fielding recent trade offers from the Yankees and Twins.
For now, however, the team may turn to rookie right-hander Justin Shafer in Giles’ place. Shafer, now in his second season with the club, has pitched just 10 1/3 innings in the majors this season. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi notes that while they could also utilize Daniel Hudson in the closer role, they’d rather give him a break after he tossed 35 pitches in Saturday’s 2-1 win.
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.