July 2, 2019

Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs dead at 27

      Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died Monday at the age of 27, stunning the baseball world.

Police responded to a report of an unconscious man in a hotel room in Southlake, Texas, and pronounced Skaggs dead at the scene. No foul play is suspected, and an investigation is ongoing, police said.

A Southlake police spokesperson said it "is not suspected" that Skaggs took his own life, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"It is with great sorrow that we report Tyler Skaggs passed away earlier today in Texas," a statement by the Angels said. "Tyler has, and always will be, an important part of the Angels Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family during this devastating time."

Angels players and coaches who had arrived at the Rangers' ballpark for Monday night's series opener left about four hours before the scheduled start of the game to return to their hotel. The clubhouse was never opened to the media, and none of the players spoke to reporters at the hotel.

The Rangers' clubhouse also was closed when general manager Jon Daniels and manager Chris Woodward told their players what had happened and dismissed them.

Woodward described it as "one of those moments where you're just kind of numb'' and said the Rangers were thinking about Skaggs' family and the Angels organization.

"There were a lot of pretty emotional guys in there, you could tell. Some guys knew him. [Jesse Chavez] had actually played with him in L.A.,'' Woodward said. "Some guys that didn't even know him were visibly shaken. You could tell.''

Daniels told media that he had discussed only the postponement of Monday's game with MLB but said he would be open to talking if the league thinks more should be done.

"Real life takes precedence here,'' Daniels said. "Some things are a lot bigger than baseball.''

Angels GM Billy Eppler fought back tears when speaking to reporters about Skaggs, saying, "He had a long life ahead of him, and now that's gone. Everybody grieves in their own way, and everybody has to find peace through this eventually, but it's just a tragic day for everybody, especially his family."

MLB posted a statement to Twitter from commissioner Rob Manfred that read in part, "All of us at Major League Baseball extend our deepest condolences to Tyler's wife, Carli, their family, their friends and all of his Angels' teammates and colleagues. We will support the Angels' organization through this most difficult period, and we will make a variety of resources available to Tyler's teammates and other members of the baseball family."

Skaggs last pitched Saturday, going 4⅓ innings against Oakland at home. He was 7-7 this year in 15 starts, recording a 4.29 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 79⅔ innings.

A native of the Los Angeles area, Skaggs was born in Woodland Hills and went to high school in Santa Monica. His mother, Debbie, was the longtime softball coach at Santa Monica High School. She famously provided postgame tips on his pitching mechanics deep into his big league career.

Skaggs was drafted by the Angels with the 40th pick in the first round of the 2009 draft, the same Angels draft class as Mike Trout. They were roommates in the low minor leagues before Skaggs was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in August 2010.

Skaggs made his major league debut two years after being dealt to Arizona, and the Diamondbacks traded him back to the Angels following the 2013 season.

The Diamondbacks said they were "heartbroken" by the news and would remember Skaggs as a "great teammate and wonderful young man."

Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark said in a statement that "the fraternity of players is stunned and saddened today by the untimely death of Tyler Skaggs."

Skaggs' death comes 10 years after another Angels pitcher, Nick Adenhart, died along with two other people in an April 2009 car crash for which a drunk driver was convicted of murder and sentenced to 51 years to life in 2010.

Last December, infielder Luis Valbuena, whom the Angels had released the preceding August, was killed in Venezuela alongside former major leaguer Jose Castillo in a car crash caused by highway bandits.

The team postponed a game against the Texas Rangers.

Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News

Source: AASNSports; MLB; AP; ESPN; 

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