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Former MLB All-Star Tommy John hospitalized by COVID-19, says he's not a coronavirus denier

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 1/7/2021 Katherine Acquavella

Former pitching legend Tommy John is in the midst of a three-week long battle with COVID-19. After reports surfaced that he is a coronavirus denier, John disputed the claims in an interview with The Associated Press.

"I'm not a denier. I've had it, baby," John told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

While John is not denying the existence of the coronavirus, his son, Tommy John III, has been spreading misinformation about the virus and global pandemic on social media.

John, 77, remains hospitalized near his home in Indio, California. John told the AP that the first signs of COVID-19 symptoms appeared following a trip to Nashville. He was hospitalized on Dec. 13. John explained that he also has had pneumonia and did receive oxygen. 

Presently, the MLB veteran is not on oxygen. John told the AP that the biggest side effect at the moment is the loss of strength in his legs.

"I feel good. The only thing right now is trying to arrange for someone to do physical therapy from my home," John told AP.

John spent 26 years pitching for six different teams, including the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, from 1963-89. He is widely known for undergoing a revolutionary elbow operation in 1974, and the surgery is now bears his name. He was first that baseball player to undergo ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction by Dodgers orthopedic surgeon Frank Jobe.

Although coronavirus is considered a respiratory illness, the disease can impact a number of systems and organs. That includes possible effects on the heart and the brainMore than 350,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.

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