In a statement, Skaggs’ family said an Angels employee may have been involved in the 27-year-old’s death.
Although fentanyl is not listed on MLB’s banned substance list, it is automatically prohibited because it is listed as a “drug of abuse” by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
A forensic pathologist consulted by the Los Angeles Times said the “level of fentanyl (found in Skaggs’ system) is a significant amount that could produce death.” Oxycodone and alcohol would have also contributed, according to the consultant.
Hardin, the lawyer retained by Skaggs’ family, told the Los Angeles Times it is “way too early for us to speculate” whether there is grounds for legal action against the team.
At the time of his death, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs had the opioids fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, along with alcohol, according to a toxicology report obtained by Maria Torres and Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
Torres and DiGiovanna report the cause of death is listed as a mixture of “alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents,” which essentially means Skaggs choked on his own vomit while under the influence. The report lists his death as an accident.
“Tyler was and always will be a beloved member of the Angels Family and we are deeply saddened to learn what caused this tragic death,” the Angels said in a statement. “Angels Baseball has provided our full cooperation and assistance to the Southlake Police as they conduct their investigation.”
The Angels were in Texas to play the Rangers when Skaggs was found dead at the team hotel on July 1. He was found fully clothed in his bed with no signs of physical trauma. His body was found after he failed to report to the ballpark on time for the day’s game.
MLB plans to investigate the claim an Angels employee may have been involved in Skaggs’ death. “We were unaware of this allegation and will investigate,” a league spokesman told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
“We are grateful for the work of the detectives in the Southlake Police Department and their ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding Tyler’s death. We were shocked to learn that it may involve an employee of the Los Angeles Angels. 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.”