Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, 27, dies in Texas
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."
A photo of Angels players wearing cowboy hats by their plane was posted on Skaggs' Instagram account Sunday, with the pitcher writing "Howdy y'all'' and making a reference to the team's road trip to Texas. The Angels are scheduled to go to Houston for a three-game series this weekend after playing the Rangers.
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.''
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."
A moment of silence will be held before Tuesday night's game. Eppler, manager Brad Ausmus and team president John Carpino plan to address the media Tuesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
In Anaheim, fans flocked to Angel Stadium to pay their respects to Skaggs in front of the main gate, arriving dozens at a time to lay down flowers, personalized posters and signed memorabilia. When the sun went down, they lit candles.
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."
Many teams held a moment of silence before the start of their games Monday.
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.
Trout posted a tribute to Skaggs on behalf of the team Monday evening.
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."
Former Angels manager Mike Scioscia called Skaggs "one of the bright young lights in this world" in a text to ESPN's Alden Gonzalez.
"We all feel the pain of his loss and pray for some comfort to his family," Scioscia wrote.
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 drunken 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 Associated Press contributed to this report.