As we appreciate Jeremiah Estrada’s incredible fastball and look forward to his future as the Cubs’ dominant reliever, think back to everything he’s been through to get to this moment. Tommy John surgery. A year without games. A separate elbow injury.
And a big one I didn’t know about: Estrada nearly died of COVID-19 last year.
You can and should read about Estrada’s ordeal here at the Sun-Timesand here at the Tribune:
We knew how bad COVID-19 *could* be, obviously, but it’s so shocking to look back and see how much even a young athlete like Estrada was in danger. Excerpt from the Tribune article:
But after Estrada returned from the hospital, his condition continued to deteriorate. He developed chills and fell asleep or passed out. He still doesn’t know what happened, but remembers waking up with hallucinations, a fever of 102 degrees and the inability to walk.
“I couldn’t do anything, I was just done,” Estrada said. “My dad tried to call me and I couldn’t answer.”
Estrada had told his father that if he didn’t pick up his phone call, he should contact the hospital. When emergency medical technicians arrived, they found Estrada on the floor of her bedroom. A pulse oximeter showed her oxygen levels in the 70%-80% range, well below the average level of 95%-100%. Estrada was put on 15 liters of oxygen.
When the doctor called Estrada’s father at the start of his two-week hospital stay, telling him how serious the situation was, the doctor’s words must have been terrifying to hear: “Just pray.”
It was just a year ago. Estrada, thankfully, eventually turned the corner and was able to get back into shape in the offseason. That he then comes to camp and bursts through the season like he has…I’m impressed.
The Tribune play is a fantastic read on Estrada’s journey, his personality, and what lies ahead for one of the most promising relief prospects we’ve seen in a long time. Highly recommend.