By Rory Carroll
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The tragic death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs in Texas on Monday was akin to losing a family member, Angels managers said on Tuesday.
Skaggs, 27, was found unresponsive in a hotel room and pronounced dead at the scene by police in Southlake. An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death.
“We lost a member of our family yesterday,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said at an emotional media conference.
“Tyler Skaggs was a team mate, a brother, a friend and most important of all, he was a husband and a son,” he said.
“He was an exceptional young man with an entire life so full of promise yet to live.”
Eppler said Skaggs, who was born in southern California’s San Fernando Valley and was selected by the Angels in the first round of the 2009 draft, was a natural with people.
“He was magnetic, people were drawn to him. He was generous and kind.
“Our team will never be the same without him.”
Angels manager Brad Ausmus said the team had met twice to celebrate the life of the hard-throwing lefty, who had become a key part of their starting rotation, posting a 7-7 record this season.
“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,” he said.
“It was good,” Ausmus said, wiping away tears.
The Angels are in Texas for a four-game series against the Rangers. Monday’s series-opener was postponed after the news of Skaggs’ passing but the teams decided to return to the field for Tuesday’s game.
“It’s what Tyler would want,” Eppler said.
“Also it’s a time to allow them to get back into a routine, to have a period of time where they feel disconnected,” he said.
“A lot of problems go away from when the first pitch is thrown to when the last pitch is thrown,” he said.
“These guys will be there fighting for each other with Tyler weighing heavy on their hearts tonight.”
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ian Ransom)