Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron, free-agent right-handers Matt Harvey and Mike Morin, and Phillies righty Cam Bedrosian were called as witnesses in the ongoing Eric Kay trial today, as covered in detail by ESPN’s T.J. Quinn and The Athletic’s Sam Blum. Kay, formerly the Angels director of communications, is accused of providing the pills that led to the tragic death of left-hander Tyler Skaggs.
In questioning Skaggs’ former teammates, the prosecution sought to prove that Kay alone was the source of the pills that proved fatal. Kay’s defense looked to create reasonable doubt in that allegation and bring to light the possibility that Skaggs could have received the drugs from another source.
Each of Harvey, Cron, Morin and Bedrosian admitted to using oxycodone that was provided to them by Kay — Harvey, Morin and Bedrosian during their time with the Angels, and Cron both during his time with the Angels and, at least once, during his time as a member of the Rays. Harvey acknowledged that Skaggs, at one point, spoke of another source of pills — an unnamed contact in Santa Monica. Cron indicated during his testimony that Kay was, to his knowledge, Skaggs’ only source of pills. Kay provided Cron himself with pills around eight times, Cron said.
Morin acknowledged being provided with pills on five to six occasions, detailing a payment scheme wherein he would leave cash in a locker room cubby, which Kay would then replace with pills. It was Skaggs who introduced him to the possibility of procuring pills from Kay, according to Morin’s testimony. He later added that Kay was not profiting from providing the players with drugs. Bedrosian also indicated he received pills from Kay, later stating that he was “scared” upon hearing of Skaggs’ death because he’d “taken those (same drugs) a couple of times” himself.
Harvey stated within his testimony that he did not know Skaggs to have a problem. (Dodgers hurler Andrew Heaney — Skaggs’ close friend and former teammate in Anaheim — testified last week that he was also unaware Skaggs had an opioid issue). Harvey spoke this afternoon of the lengths to which active players will go to remain on the field in the face of severe injury. He candidly acknowledged, when prompted, that today’s testimony could negatively impact his own playing career moving forward. Morin, meanwhile, stated he stopped using after leaving the Angels organization, citing the mental toll of failing to meet his lofty expectations for himself as a catalyst for his usage.
The prosecution rested their case against Kay this afternoon. The trial will resume tomorrow morning, at which time the defense will present its case. The finer details of the players’ testimonies are available both at ESPN and at The Athletic, for those who wish to delve into the full breadth of the scandal. Broadly speaking, today’s testimonies both underscore the likelihood of prescription drug abuse on a greater level than many fans realize and provide additional context to the sad and untimely death of Skaggs.