The Cubs’ Jeremiah Estrada’s Life-Changing Panic That Reshaped the MLB Journey

When Jeremiah Estrada arrived at the hospital, he thought he might die.

“I tried not to think of the worst,” Estrada said. “But again, in that moment, when I got into the hospital, I was like, ‘This is a moment to think about the worst. “

Among the 15 major leagues he made his debut Cubs This season, Estrada in Toronto last week is perhaps the most amazing considering where he was a year ago.

This past August, Estrada was in Low-A with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, far from his southern California home, regardless of the big leagues.

He was already sidelined with an elbow problem – two years after he underwent Tommy John’s surgery – when he was hospitalized with a severe bout of COVID-19.

“It was definitely one of the scariest moments of my life,” said Ramiro Estrada, Jeremiah’s father. “It was a scary situation. We were worried. It was unexpected.”

Jeremiah called his family to tell them he tested positive and began to self-quarantine. And based on his initial symptoms, he thought his condition for COVID wouldn’t be too bad. It was two days early after his positive test he didn’t feel a thing.

“And after I felt nothing,” Jeremiah said, “the next day I began to feel it a little more, and that’s when everything hit me on the seventh day.

“It was the worst feeling ever. I lost a lot of weight, and I felt a lot of pain. Other than just hurting my elbow, this was the worst pain of my life.”

While Jeremiah’s family was ready to go cross-country to help him, he and the team’s coaches ordered them to stay because the virus was rampant in Myrtle Beach.

Soon he was taken to the hospital.

“Once the ambulance picked me up, there was a time when I hit the bed and couldn’t breathe,” Jeremiah said. “I can’t talk. I couldn’t do anything. Couldn’t work at all. Couldn’t send text. Couldn’t answer phone calls.

“I felt bad for those who were calling me, and it just went on. My dad was trying to call me. I was just like, I can’t breathe. I have a full mask on my face. I can’t speak. No word comes out, I felt like I had to breathe three times afterwards.” directly “.

Jeremiah said he spent two weeks in the hospital and did not eat. Wake up one day with a lighter appetite and eat some graham crackers.

“That was when I felt like, ‘Okay, things are getting better,’ he said. I’m still sick, I’m still in all the pain, but I’m able to eat now.”

Jeremiah was moved to a more comfortable room as his appetite returned, and while he was still in pain and experiencing symptoms, he no longer tested positive for COVID.

A week later, his stepmother traveled to Myrtle Beach to look after him.

Jeremiah returned to the hill this spring and was the one in control. He has recorded a 1.30 ERA in 34 appearances among three minor league levels with 78 strokes in 48 1/3 innings.

It earned him his first big promotion during the Cubs series in Toronto last week as a substitute player. He threw a goalless run with a pair of hits and he was He was added to the 40-man roster as a September call.

On Tuesday he hosted a group of family and friends at Wrigley Field.

“We give all glory to our God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Ramiro said. “We Christians who believe in the Bible, and we only thank Him for all the blessings, because it is a blessing.

“He caught COVID last year and lost 25 pounds and went home. I just thank Cubs Organization for giving him opportunity, number one, and taking care of him.”

A few days ago, Jeremiah’s phone alerted him to a photo he had taken exactly a year ago, of him and his hospital fence.

“I looked at it and said, ‘Dude, I was there last year, at a low-level baseball game, about to die,’” Estrada said. “And now you wake up every day. You are still in the minor leagues. Then you get up and say, “Dude, you’re in the big leagues.”

“You have come this far. God bless you. It has kept me healthy all year long, and my first year in good health ever. Hard to believe, man.”

Jeremiah said he did not remember the last night he slept a full eight hours. To get to where he is now, after what he’s been through, his mind is looking forward.

“Every day I was thinking about what I would do the next day to become a better shooter,” he said. “What am I going to do next? Because all year long you’ve been thinking, ‘What can I do to get myself into the big leagues?'”

“And now that I’m here, I keep saying to myself, ‘What am I going to do to stay in the big leagues? “Every day I try to do my best to be something better, because I knew where I was last year.”

Click here to follow the Cubs Talk Podcast.