During a trial that is attempting to determine whether former Angels employee Eric Kay provided Tyler Skaggs with drugs that may have led to the 27-year-old pitcher’s death, former star hurler Matt Harvey took the stand and opened up about his own drug use.
Skaggs had the opioids fentanyl and oxycodone in his system along with alcohol when he was found dead after choking on his own vomit in 2019 in a Texas hotel room.
Accused by Kay’s defense team of providing Skaggs with Percocet before he died, Harvey testified for the prosecution after receiving immunity from the government to guarantee he would not be criminally prosecuted for anything he admitted to in court.
Under oath, Harvey admitted to using cocaine while he was at the top of his game pitching for the Mets in New York and also said that he provided opioids to Skaggs on several occasions. While that first admission would not be an offense worthy of suspension under Major League Baseball’s drug policy, Harvey’s admission to distributing drugs to another player could prompt baseball to ban him for at least 60 days, an MLB official told ESPN. During his testimony, Harvey said he believes his testimony will threaten his career. He’s probably right.
“Once the trial is complete, MLB will conduct a comprehensive review of the potential violations of our drug program,” MLB said in a statement.
While testifying, Harvey, who said oxycodone and Tylenol use was common in the major leagues, was asked if he ever asked Skaggs to be careful.
“Looking back, I wish I had,” Harvey said. “In baseball you do everything you can to stay on the field. At the time I felt as a teammate I was just helping him get through whatever he needed to get through.”
A former All-Star with the New York Mets, Harvey is a free agent after spending the 2021 season with the Baltimore Orioles. He made his major league debut in 2012 and has played for the Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Angels, Kansas City Royals and Orioles. He was released by the Angels three weeks after Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room.
Harvey would be able to appeal any suspension, but would also have to latch on with a team to be suspended. In 28 starts for the Orioles last season, the 32-year-old pitched to a 6.27 ERA.