Two months after teammate Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his Southlake, Texas, hotel room, Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels were forced to process the event all over again after learning the results of Skaggs' autopsy.
On Friday, the Tarrant County, Texas, medical examiner's office revealed that Skaggs had a mix of alcohol and opioids in his system at the time of his death. The revelation sent shockwaves throughout the league and especially the Angels clubhouse.
According to MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger, the Angels were not aware that the report was going to come out on Friday. As a result, the players decided to close the clubhouse doors without talking to the media before their game against the Boston Red Sox. Only general manager Billy Eppler and manager Brad Ausmus were made available to speak.
It was a different story on Saturday.
Trout, who along with Skaggs, was selected by the Angels in the 2009 draft, was among the players to speak and express shock upon learning of the circumstances surrounding Skaggs’ death.
“Obviously, it doesn’t change my view on Tyler.”
“He made a big impact on my life, this team. I was kind of shocked when the news came out like that. That’s tough, but it doesn’t change the feeling I have for him and the way he impacted my life.”
After Skaggs was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010, he was reunited with Trout following a trade back to Los Angeles before the 2014 season. They remained teammates and friends until Skaggs’ death.
It’s not always the case, but oftentimes when teammates spend that much time together, they form a special bond. That seemed to be the case with Trout and Skaggs.
That closeness and the go, go, go mentality of a baseball player is also part of what makes the grieving process so difficult.
Trout added that he was unaware of Skaggs taking opioids such as oxycodone and fentanyl, and wishes he’d been able to help.
“Obviously, if I knew I would have definitely said something or done something,” said Trout. “It’s tough. You love Tyler. We didn’t know he was going through this. Just a tough situation when this came out. Tough to put your mind to it.”
Skaggs’s family has retained prominent Texas attorney Rusty Hardin to represent them as the Southlake Police Department continues its investigation into the pitcher’s death. The family is looking to find out how Skaggs came into possession of the opioids that contributed to his death, including who supplied them.
Major League Baseball is also reportedly planning to open its own investigation.
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