In their first game since Tyler Skaggs’ death, the Los Angeles Angels honored the late pitcher, who was pronounced dead Monday after he was found unresponsive in his hotel room prior to the team’s scheduled game against the Texas Rangers.
Monday’s game was canceled in the wake of the 27-year-old’s sudden death, but the teams were back on the field Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. Before they played, both teams observed a moment of silence in Skaggs’ memory. The Angels also wore patches adorned with his number, 45, and the Rangers skipped the traditional walk-up music that plays when a batter goes to home plate.
The pitcher’s death has stunned the baseball community, especially the Angels.
“The team all got together a couple times and some of the guys spoke, but I think most importantly in the end we were able to talk about Tyler and laugh about some of the stories and some of the goofy things he did, listen to some of his music, so it was good,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus told reporters while fighting back tears.
“Today’s one of the hardest days and I know it gets easier, but it’s difficult,” he added.
“It’s like a punch in the heart. You just, you really don’t, you’re so in shock,” Angels owner Arte Moreno said.
“It’s just a tough 24 hours,” Angles superstar center fielder Mike Trout said after the game. “We’re getting through it. Tough playing out there today, but like Brad said earlier, Skaggsy wouldn’t have wanted us to take another day off. The energy he brought to the clubhouse, every time you saw him, he was just picking you up. It’s going to be tough these next couple days, the rest of the season, the rest of our lives, to lose a friend. We were close. All these guys in here, I see these guys more than my family.”
Foul play and suicide have been ruled out as the cause of death and the medical examiner’s office has finished its initial autopsy report, although Skaggs’ family has requested privacy. His record, which could give a reason for his death, has been taken down from the medical examiner’s website. It could take up to three months before an official autopsy report is released.
Skaggs, who was from suburban Los Angeles, was drafted by the Angels in 2009. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks and made his major league debut with them in 2012 before being traded back to his hometown Angels prior to the 2014 season.
The Angels beat the Rangers Tuesday night, 9-4. The team’s next home game — its first since Skaggs’ death — is scheduled for July 12.