Jeremy Jeffress
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Brewers designate Jeremy Jeffress for assignment

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The Brewers designated right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress for assignment on Sunday, according to an official announcement. Additional reports from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman suggest that Jeffress will be released from the team when possible.

Things have rapidly deteriorated for the former All-Star, whose 1.29 ERA ranked best among all National League relievers in 2018. After hitting several career-high marks with Milwaukee last year, he’s come nowhere close to replicating those numbers in 2019. He produced just one save this season with an unsightly 5.02 ERA, 2.9 BB/9, 8.0 SO/9, and 0.4 fWAR across 52 innings pitched.

Most of his struggles can be attributed to several injuries: a case of shoulder inflammation in March and April, followed by a left hip strain that he contracted late last month. While Jeffress originally hoped to return to the mound after a minimum stay on the IL, it looks like that will no longer be the case. With his future still unclear, he’ll reportedly take some time off to rest before attempting to find another landing place in 2020.

Along with Jeffress, the Brewers also DFA’d outfielder Troy Stokes Jr. and fellow righty reliever Aaron Wilkerson. Among those joining the active roster today are catcher David Freitas, infielder/outfielder Tyler Austin, right-handers Jake Faria, Freddy Peralta, and Jimmy Nelson, and left-hander Brent Suter.

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.