CHICAGO -- An emotional Tommy Hottovy shared his harrowing experience of coping with the coronavirus with the hope that his fellow Chicago Cubs employees and families can learn from his ordeal.
"It's still raw in the fact that we just got through it, and to relive it, obviously it affected us pretty significantly for a month," Hottovy said at the start of a 35-minute Zoom call Wednesday in which he said he plans to continue his duties as pitching coach.
Hottovy, who paused often during the first five minutes to gather his emotions, shared his ordeal two weeks after finally testing negative following 30 days of quarantine in a spare bedroom and spending a week of sleepless nights with a relentless fever and cough.
"I went through some really weird stages through this whole process, like depression, thinking: 'Did I do something wrong? How could I put my family in that kind of situation?' " said Hottovy, who emphasized he wore a mask and gloves when he left his home before contracting COVID-19.
"It affects people differently. If my story and journey through this helps one person realize how severe this can get, and if that saves one life, then I want my story to be heard."
During those long nights, Hottovy thought there was no way he would return to his full-time duties until he started feeling better. During one Zoom call with his pitchers, Hottovy coughed so frequently that manager David Ross took over the meeting.
Hottovy revealed he lost 18 pounds during his bout and estimated his strength at 80%. But he is determined to stay on as a coach.
"We're all-in at this point," Hottovy said. "I feel comfortable about (the protocols). We're just going to be our own little containment group."
Hottovy admitted there will be obstacles for everyone, including fans.
"We absolutely love the fans and the people that support the Cubs, but fans are going to have to understand players can't sign autographs," he said. "We can't take a baseball from you and sign it and give it back. Those are the little things.