At Tyler Skaggs trial, 4 MLB players testify they received drugs
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Four major league players testified Tuesday they received oxycodone pills from a former Los Angeles Angels employee accused of providing Tyler Skaggs the drugs that led to the pitcher’s overdose death.
Pitchers Matt Harvey, Mike Morin and Cam Bedrosian and first baseman C.J. Cron played for the Angels during the years federal prosecutors say Eric Prescott Kay obtained drugs for players. Kay faces drug distribution and conspiracy charges.
After saying he was subpoenaed and would have used his Fifth Amendment right not to testify without immunity, Harvey acknowledged being a cocaine user before and during his season with the Angels in 2019. The former New York Mets star said he tried oxycodone provided by Skaggs during his season with the Angels and also provided drugs to Skaggs.
Morin and Cron testified to longer periods of getting oxycodone from Kay, while Bedrosian said he received three or four pills once and gave the rest back after taking one and not liking the way it made him feel.
Of the four players, only Cron is on a major league roster (Colorado Rockies). The others are free agents; Harvey, who played last year for the Orioles, said he believes his testimony will threaten his career.
Skaggs, 27, was found dead July 1, 2019, in a suburban Dallas hotel room after the team had traveled from Los Angeles and before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. A coroner’s report said Skaggs had choked to death on his vomit, and a toxic mix of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone were in his system.
Kay served as the team’s public relations contact on many road trips, and the trip to Texas was his first since returning from rehab. Kay was placed on leave shortly after Skaggs’ death and never returned to the team.
Federal prosecutors are trying to establish that Kay was the only one who could have provided the drugs that led to Skaggs’ death, and that the drugs were delivered after the team arrived in Texas. The defense counters that Skaggs had multiple suppliers, and that the last drugs Kay gave him were before the team left.
Harvey said Skaggs had another source but didn’t get many drugs from that source. Harvey said he had his own drug supplier on the East Coast, and said he got oxycodone for Skaggs from that supplier.
The defense asked Harvey and Morin if they were aware of the danger of mixing alcohol and oxycodone, and they said they were. Defense attorney Michael Molfetta asked Harvey if he ever asked Skaggs to be careful.
“Looking back, I wish I had,” Harvey said. “In baseball you do everything you can to stay on the field. At the time I felt as a teammate I was just helping him get through whatever he needed to get through.”
Testimony was continuing later Tuesday, the fifth full day of testimony in Kay’s trial.