Coroner: Former Kernel's player, Skaggs died of accidental overdose

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died from a toxic mix of the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone along with alcohol in an accidental overdose, a medical examiner in Texas said in a report released Friday.

Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout gestures toward a photo of Tyler Skaggs in center field prior to a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Monday, July 29, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. Skaggs passed away on July 1st. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The 27-year-old Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1 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.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office issued a technical report that said Skaggs died as a result of "mixed ethanol, fentanyl, oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents."
It said simply: "Manner of death: Accident."

Skaggs' death laid bare the emotions of manager Brad Ausmus, star outfielder Mike Trout and fellow left-hander Andrew Heaney, his best friend on the team, along with the rest of his teammates and LA staff members.

The first game after Skaggs died was played without music or the usual in-game promotions for the Rangers, who painted his number "45" on the back of the mound at Globe Life Park.

In their first home game after Skaggs died, the Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 13-0 on a combined no-hitter from Taylor Cole and Félix Peña. All the LA players were wearing Skaggs' number and covered the mound with their jerseys after the victory. It was a day before what would have been Skaggs' 28th birthday.

The day before he died, Skaggs posted a picture on Instagram of him and the Angels in cowboy hats and other western clothing outside their plane. Skaggs organized the effort because the club was stopping in both major league cities in Texas.

The Southern California native was drafted by the Angels in the first round in 2009 and made his big league debut with Arizona three years later after being traded.

Skaggs returned to the Angels in 2014 and missed all of the next season recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left elbow. He also spent more than three months on the disabled list in 2017 with a right oblique muscle strain. Skaggs was 28-38 with a 4.41 ERA in 96 career appearances, all starts.