George Springer
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Video: George Springer’s big swing and miss after getting booed

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For better or worse, the Astros and its individual components are the villains of the 2020 season. Some of them, like Josh Reddick and Lance McCullers, have seemed to embrace that. George Springer, too, seems to want to shut the haters up, but he was spectacularly unsuccessful on Wednesday afternoon against the Mets.

Facing lefty Justin Wilson with two outs, Springer stepped to the plate in the top of the third inning for his second at-bat of the ballgame. Springer was lustily booed by fans in Port St. Lucie. Seemingly intent on proving the crowd wrong for booing him, Springer took a hefty cut at a first-pitch fastball. He swung out of his shoes trying to hit a home run, falling to a knee, much to the delight of the jeering crowd.

Springer would ground out to third base to end the inning. He later singled in the fifth inning, finishing the day 1-for-3.

At least, for the Astros, they have spring training to get all the jitters out of the way in their newfound role as the villain. It will be quite interesting to see their reception at road games during the regular season and, more importantly, during the playoffs — should they get there again.

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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.