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MLB suspends Orioles pitcher Matt Harvey 60 games for drug distribution

MLB suspends Orioles pitcher Matt Harvey 60 games for drug distribution
Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Matt Harvey, shown May 12, 2021, currently is on a Minor League contract with the Orioles and is at the club's extended spring training facility in Sarasota, Fla. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 17 (UPI) -- Former All-Star pitcher Matt Harvey was suspended 60 games Tuesday for violating Major League Baseball's drug program.

The 33-year-old Harvey currently is on a Minor League contract with the Baltimore Orioles and is at the club's extended spring training facility in Sarasota, Fla. His suspension is retroactive to April 29, and it is without pay.

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"We support all aspects of MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and their ruling in this particular case," Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said in a statement. "I am glad that Matt now has the opportunity to put this part of his past behind him and pursue another shot with our organization after serving his suspension."

MLB investigated Harvey after his testimony during the February trial of former Los Angeles Angels communications director Eric Kay, who faces a minimum 20-year prison sentence stemming from the sudden death of former Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

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While under immunity, Harvey acknowledged that he used cocaine and oxycodone -- which are banned substances under MLB's drug policy -- and occasionally provided Skaggs with oxycodone pills when he played for the Angels in 2019.

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Skaggs was found dead on July 1, 2019, at the age of 27 after being found unconscious in his Southlake, Texas, hotel room during a team road trip. His death was ruled an accidental overdose in August, with a medical examiner ruling that Skaggs had fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system.

After an eight-day trial in Fort Worth, Texas, a federal grand jury found Kay guilty on two felony counts, agreeing with the U.S. government that Kay distributed the lethal drug fentanyl and caused Skaggs' death.

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Kay's sentencing is scheduled for June 28.

Harvey was among five former Angels players who revealed during the trial to receiving illegal opioids from Kay, along with C.J. Cron, Cam Bedrosian, Mike Morin and Blake Parker. Harvey, though, was the only player to admit to distributing drugs to someone else.

Harvey finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting as a member of the New York Mets in 2013. After having Tommy John surgery, he helped guide the Mets to the World Series in 2015.

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The right-hander, however, has struggled mightily since, posting a 5.92 ERA across 539 1/3 innings while bouncing around with the Mets, Angels, Orioles, Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals from 2016-21.

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