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Report: Rangers sign Joely Rodríguez to two-year, $5.5 million contract

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Jon Morosi reports that the Rangers and reliever Joely Rodríguez have agreed to a two-year contract worth $5.5 million.

Rodríguez, 28, pitched briefly for the Phillies in 2016-17, posting a disappointing 5.40 ERA with 25 strikeouts and 19 walks over 36 2/3 innings. He pitched in the Rangers’ and Orioles’ minor league systems in ’17-18 before traveling to Japan to play for the Chunichi Dragons. Rodríguez had much more success there. In 87 2/3 innings with the Dragons, he posted a 1.85 ERA with 103 strikeouts and 28 walks.

The Rangers’ bullpen was among the worst in the league last season, so the addition of Rodríguez behind closer José Leclerc should help.

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.