MLB Assigns Investigative Unit To Look Into Tyler Skaggs’ Death After Family Says Angels Employee Involved

Tyler Skaggs pitches in an MLB game.
Mike Carlson / Getty Images

Major League Baseball is assigning its investigative unit to look into a claim that a Los Angeles Angels employee may have had some involvement in the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs earlier this year.

On Friday, a toxicology report released by the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office showed that the pitcher had a combination of oxycodone, fentanyl, and alcohol in his system when he was found dead in a Texas hotel room on July 1. His death was ruled an accident, with the medical exam finding that the pitcher choked to death on his own vomit, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The blood tests showed that Skaggs had 3.8 nanograms per milliliter of fentanyl in his system, which experts told the Los Angeles Times was a significant amount, but not “outrageously high.” Fentanyl is a highly addictive and powerful synthetic opioid originally used for relief of acute pain. It is also highly dangerous, and experts say it is a leading cause of the nationwide rash of opioid overdoses.

Immediately after the results were released, the family of Tyler Skaggs released a statement saying that an employee of the Los Angeles Angels may have been involved in the pitcher’s death, but did not say how.

“We were shocked to learn that it may involve an employee of the Los Angeles Angels,” the family said in its statement. “We will not rest until we learn the truth about how Tyler came into possession of these narcotics, including who supplied them. To that end, we have hired attorney Rusty Hardin to assist us.”

After the claim, the MLB announced that it would assign its investigative unit to look into the allegation. As USA Today reported, Angels general manager Billy Eppler said the club is working with Texas police on the investigation of Skaggs’ death and hopes to find out the truth about what happened to the pitcher.

“Everyone’s searching for facts, and everyone within the organization wants facts,” Eppler said. “Which is why we are actively cooperating with an investigation. It kind of goes without saying that I cannot comment more on the situation until the police conclude their investigation.”

Eppler fielded a series of questions about the allegations, but deflected and said he had no more information and could not speak on the matters given that it was an ongoing investigation.

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It was not immediately clear how Tyler Skaggs could have been in possession of fentanyl or oxycodone. He was not recovering from any injuries, and was slated to pitch just three days after he was found dead.