'I got crushed': Cubs pitching coach details harrowing battle with coronavirus
On a Zoom call earlier this week, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer announced two "Tier 1" staff members had tested positive for coronavirus and wouldn't be at Wrigley Friday when training camp for the upcoming 60-day season opens.
Hoyer was asked if he could name the staffers.
"Going forward, I know it's going to be something we talk about all summer," the GM said. "We're not at liberty to give out names. We're allowed to talk about numbers and things like that. It's up to individuals to decide if they want to announce it."
On Wednesday, Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy decided the time was right.
In addition to speaking on a Zoom call, Hottovy also appeared on two local radio stations -- 670-AM and 1000-AM.
"I felt it was important for me to talk through what I went through," Hottovy said.
Hottovy went through the ringer while battling COVID-19 for a month. Two weeks ago, he finally tested negative.
"It is important to understand that I'm 38 years old," Hottovy said on the Mully & Haugh Show on 670-AM. "I've been poked, prodded and tested for the last 16 years in major-league baseball. I've had no underlying issues, nothing that would red flag me as somebody that would get hit pretty hard with this virus. But I did.
"My journey through this virus was not like ones you hear of younger people who are asymptomatic or only have it for a few days. I got crushed. I did have to go the hospital for a little bit of time to get checked and do all the breathing treatments."
Hottovy never went on a ventilator, but he was probably close.
"The problem was ... on Day 8 through 14, it crushed me," Hottovy said. "It got into my lungs. I got the full what they call the COVID pneumonia, a viral pneumonia, shortness of breath, really troubled breathing, constant fevers."
Hottovy said he took all the recommended precautions when the coronavirus initially started spreading, as did his wife Andrea and their two young children Cameron, 8, and Chloe, 6.
Keeping the rest of his family healthy and safe when he was ill was Hottovy's ultimate goal. He quarantined in a spare bedroom and bathroom and his family came through the horrifying ordeal.
"By the grace of God and by (Andrea's) diligence in what she did to keep our family safe, her and my kids didn't get it," an understandably emotional Hottovy said. "What she had to endure for a month, you just don't want to put anybody through that."
Since he is still having some mild breathing issues and lost nearly 20 pounds while battling the virus, Hottovy thought about opting out of the season.
There is plenty of time to sort that out, but Hottovy is a coach and he thrives on helping others.
"Having gone through it and having lived it to an extent, I do think it's important for me and our family to be accessible to these guys," Hottovy said. "I don't want to say be an example, but be someone that they can use as a resource through this whole process."