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Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy is recovering from COVID-19

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His story is frightening.

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

So you think younger people aren’t susceptible to the novel coronavirus? Or if they do get it, the case will be mild and the recovery easy?

Think again. Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, a healthy 38-year-old not long retired from being a professional athlete, had a severe case of COVID-19 recently, from which he isn’t completely recovered:

“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.

Hottovy said in the interview that it took 30 days before he tested negative, and he is indeed very lucky that he didn’t pass this along to his family. Since he’s now into recovery phase and has tested negative, he can’t pass the virus on to any of his fellow Cubs coaches or Cubs players.

But to me, this is a real cautionary tale. MLB players shouldn’t assume, just because they are young and healthy, that they can’t develop a severe case of COVID-19. Players are reporting to the Cubs and other teams today, and tests will be given. We likely won’t know what the results of those tests will be due to HIPAA laws, and here’s another wrinkle thrown in about any players who do test positive and have to be placed on a special COVID IL:

That’s a good question. And it raised this response:

And if we don’t hear publicly about a COVID-positive player who heads to the special IL, but that player is suddenly replaced on the active roster by someone from the “taxi squad,” I think valid assumptions are going to be made that said player is, in fact, COVID-positive.

We’re going deep into a rabbit hole that I don’t think MLB wants to be in. The “paranoia and suspicion” referred to by Andy Martino could very well become a real thing.

Given that and all the increases in cases in places like Arizona, Florida and Texas, I wonder if baseball will have to be shut down before we even get a single game played.

Best wishes to Tommy Hottovy and his family. They seem very, very lucky. And here’s the final word, from Hottovy: