There was a controversy in the past couple of weeks in which people questioned whether two ace pitchers — Noah Syndergaard and Chris Sale — undergoing Tommy John surgery was a good idea in the midst of a pandemic.
Synndergaard had his UCL repaired at the Hospital for Special Surgery in West Palm Beach, Florida last week. Sale got his done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. The controversy pits the reduction of medical services during the pandemic to those which are “essential” against arguments that, for pitchers, TJ surgery is essential for their careers. In the absence of statewide bans, that is a call for doctors to make and ElAttrache has specifically made the “this is essential” argument for a pitcher. There are, however, an increasing number of statewide bans.
Against that backdrop the Boston Globe reports that the most famous TJ doctor around, Dr. James Andrews, says he will not perform Tommy John operations on players during the pandemic, adhering to Florida’s ban — enacted after Syndergaard’s surgery — on elective procedures. That could delay Seranthony Domínguez’s surgery. He’s an Andrews patient. It will likely impact the surgery of others as well.
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.