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MLB partners with its PED testing lab for COVID-19 testing

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Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated is reporting that Major League Baseball is partnering with the Utah lab that runs its performance-enhancing drug program for coronavirus testing.

The lab, The Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, recently participated in the COVID-19 antibody study in which Major League Baseball and its employees played a large role. The lab has also been tapped for COVID-19 testing by the California State Athletic Commission  and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which are the two bodies that regulate the most high-profile boxing and mixed martial arts events in the country.

Verducci characterizes their participation like this:

In partnership with MLB, the Utah lab, The Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, not only would provide coronavirus testing for the 3,000 or so baseball players and support staff but also for thousands more in the general public. Under that plan, MLB would provide a net gain to public testing rather than drawing from existing resources.

The question I have, though, is they’re regularly testing 3,000+ MLB people, and the boxing and mixed martial arts people, and any other sports which come to them for COVID testing, is that not taking potential tests away from the public?

Or is it the case that that this testing capacity at this lab did not exist or was not available to the public until MLB decided to come pay for some? In which case, is this not a situation in which, in order to serve their paying customer — MLB — they’re spinning off some tests to the public too?

Either way, I’m struggling to understand why Major League Baseball, a paying customer or not, has what appears to be priority access to fast-turnaround COVID-19 testing when there is still a shortage of COVID-19 testing in a country in the midst of a pandemic.

 

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.