Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy revealed Wednesday morning on 670 The Score that he contracted COVID-19 last month and experienced severe symptoms before eventually testing negative 30 days after his diagnosis.
“I got crushed,” Hottovy, 38, said of symptoms that included six consecutive days of 100-plus temperatures and breathing difficulties that reached serious enough levels he was hospitalized 12 days into the ordeal.
He said he lost 18 pounds during that month and that even now, 45 days later, “just the lung capacity, the shortness of breath, the cardiovascular [fitness], I’m nowhere near [normal].”
Hottovy said he’s not sure where he contracted the virus, that he “masked up” and took precautions when leaving the house and that those he has been in close contact with regularly have all tested negative — including his wife and kids, “by the grace of God,” he said.
The coach continued Zoom calls with his pitchers through much of the process, at one point having enough trouble conducting business that manager David Ross had to take over, he said.
Hottovy said he thinks it helped to share his experiences with his players during the ordeal.
“I do think at the onset, it was frightening to a lot of guys,” he said, adding that being there to answer their questions seemed to help — and that he sees value in that going forward as well.
“I do think it’s important to be around … to be a resource,” he said.
He admitted he briefly considered opting out of participating in the planned 60-game season.
He said his emotional reaction at times during the worst days of the symptoms was “almost like depression” and said he dealt with bouts of blaming himself for bringing the virus into his home and exposing his family.
The Cubs and other teams around baseball are in the midst of intake testing of players and staff this week with Summer Camp scheduled to begin Friday and the two-month season to start about three weeks later.
“I’m extremely excited to be back with these guys and be supportive,” Hottovy said and suggested patience and a cautious approach to the process of keeping personnel safe while trying to conduct a season. “We’re going to make the best decisions during this process we can, but we really have to be flexible and mobile through this.”