ARLINGTON — A moment of silence was held on Tuesday before the Los Angeles Angels played the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park, with the team lined up outside the dugout when Tyler Skaggs, who passed away Monday, was remembered.

Public address announcer Chuck Morgan said the Rangers offered their deepest sympathies and condolences to Skaggs’ family, his teammates and the entire Angels organization.

A photo of Skaggs was shown on the huge video boards over right and left field before those screens, and every other screen in the stadium, went dark momentarily.

The entire Angels team and its staff remained on the field together for the playing of the national anthem.

The introductions of the starting lineups by Morgan before that were uncharacteristically subdued with the Angels playing heavy-hearted the night after the 27-year-old Skaggs died in his Texas hotel room in Southlake.

And when the Rangers took the field for the start of the game, they ran out to their positions quietly without any music playing on the speakers.

Skaggs’ No. 45 was painted on the back of the mound in Texas, as his Los Angeles Angels teammates played their first game since the pitcher’s death. Skaggs’ number was stenciled on the mound and then painted in Angels red.

The series opener Monday between the Angels and Rangers was postponed after the 27-year-old Skaggs was found unresponsive in his hotel room in Texas. That postponed game will be made up in mid-August, when the Angels return to Texas for another series.

Angels manager Brad Ausmus says playing a game is “going to be a refuge for players” as they grieve for late teammate.

Asked about the decision to play Tuesday night, Ausmus said the first game back was going to be tough regardless, and he isn’t sure sitting in a hotel room an extra day would do the players any good.

“A lot of problems go away when the first pitch is thrown until the last pitch is thrown,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said, adding that Skaggs would still be weighing heavy on the hearts of the players.

“He was an exceptional young man with an entire life so full of promise yet to live. For some reason, that is incomprehensible to all of us, he lives on now only in our minds and our hearts,” Eppler said. “Our team will never be the same without him. But forever we’ve been made better by him.”

Ausmus wiped tears from his eyes when he talked about the time Angels players spent together Monday, when they talked about Skaggs, including some of the goofy things he did and listening to his music.

While Angels players weren’t made available to talk to the media, they sat in the room when Eppler and Ausmus addressed the pitcher’s death along with team owner Arte Moreno and Angels president John Carpino.

“There are no words to express our sadness today,” Moreno said.

All-Star center fielder Mike Trout sat in a second row of seats against the wall, at times with his head down, like many of his teammates around him.

Ausmus said the team gathered together a couple of times Monday at the team hotel about 20 miles from the ballpark.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he can’t even imagine what Ausmus and his players are going through.

“I hate to even put myself into that, because it breaks my heart just to think about something like that,” Woodward said about three hours before Tuesday night’s scheduled first pitch. “The shock of it all, it’s heartbreak.”

Woodward says he reached out to Ausmus and said the Rangers would lend support in any way they could for the Angels.

“Obviously once the game starts, the game is going to be the game,” Woodward said. “Both teams are going to play like they normally would, but there’s still going to be something over the stadium that’s a little different.”

The Angels’ clubhouse was closed to reporters before the game. The team said it would closed afterward, too.

Former Angels teammate and close friend Patrick Corbin wore Skaggs’ No. 45 when the Washington Nationals played the Miami Marlins.

Manager Davey Martinez says he asked Corbin if he wanted to push back his scheduled Tuesday night start under the circumstances, but Corbin wanted to pitch the day after Skaggs’ death.

The left-hander normally wears No. 46.

Corbin and Skaggs were both drafted in 2009 by the Angels, traded to Arizona together in 2010 and made their MLB debuts in 2012 with the Diamondbacks.

Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo said it was going to be a “strange game” playing the Angels a day after the death Skaggs.

Gallo said he had to “take a seat” Monday when he heard the news that Skaggs had been found unresponsive in his Dallas-area hotel room. Gallo said, “I definitely feel for the Angels and that organization.”

Police in Southlake are investigating Skaggs’ death and say no foul play is suspected. An initial report by the Tarrant County medical examiner didn’t list a manner or cause of death. The results of an autopsy are scheduled to be completed in the fall, according to the Los Angeles Times.

{span}The Rangers said proceeds from a 50-50 raffle at the game will be donated to the Angels Baseball Foundation.{/span}

Eppler described Skaggs as a teammate, a brother, a friend and most importantly a husband and a son who “brought joy to everybody around him.”

With the team out of town, fans went to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, where they left flowers, hats, baseballs, signs, photos and other memorabilia in a makeshift memorial mound.

The poignant display resembled the fan-created memorial for Nick Adenhart in 2009 after the rookie pitcher was killed by a drunk driver. That tribute stayed out front of the Big A through the summer.

Carpino said the Angels would pay tribute to Skaggs in much the same way they did Adenhart, who was killed after his first start of the 2009 season that was only his fourth major league game.

“The way we’ll honor them both is just watching these guys play,” Carpino said, referring to the players sitting to his left. “As far as the stadium, just typical with a patch and all that, but honoring him so much more with our thoughts and our hearts is the most important thing.”


Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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