The third night was the worst. While battling COVID-19, Tigers pitching prospect Tarik Skubal had a fever that spiked to 103.7 degrees . “It did get scary,” Skubal said in a Zoom call with reporters Saturday morning. “That's the hottest I've ever felt in my entire life.” Skubal tested positive in June for the coronavirus about a week before MLB announced it was going to restart. “I had pretty much all the symptoms,” Skubal said. He quarantined in his house in Arizona for two weeks. “I didn't know anyone who had it,” Skubal said. “I didn't know any of my friends or my family or their family or friends that have had the virus.” And the truth is, the virus didn’t seem real to him until he got it. “I was like, yeah, this thing is real,” he said. “You need to take caution and social distance and wear a mask.” Skubal had a shot to make it to the big leagues this year. He is the 50th-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. And he has soared through the Tigers’ system. Skubal, a left-hander, pitched in two games in spring training, recording six strikeouts in 4 ⅔ innings with three walks. “In spring training, I kind of flipped the grip on my curveball a little bit, just to get a little bit more break and spin that I wanted to create and get the pitch that I want to create,” he said. After spring training shut down because of the virus, Skubal went home to Arizona and continued to work on his pitches. He he said he “took a big step forward” in his development. “I was just able to work on some pitches and, and kind of design some stuff that I really like,” he said. He thought he was being safe, using precautions against the virus. “I tried to be careful with this whole thing when I was home,” he said. “I didn't really go out and I just didn't try to stay away from everybody.” Still, he got it. “I'm lucky that I got it when I'm 23 years old and I don't have underlying health deficiencies,” he said. But it wasn’t an easy fight. “Physically it took a lot out of me,” he said. About 14 or 15 days after testing positive, he started to get back into his routine and move around. “Then I started feeling a bit better, you know, just being able to move around,” he said. He said he has no lingering effects. “I came out fine,” he said. Skubal was cleared to come off the injured list July 21 and rejoined the team for workouts. He is on the Tigers' taxi squad, working out in Toledo. The Tigers have brought him back slowly. He was scheduled to pitch in his first game in Toledo on Saturday, but only for two innings. “Now it's just about building back up,” he said. In some ways, it seems ironic. He is in Toledo, like many expected all along. But nothing about this situation is what anybody expected. “I’d love to be playing in a regular minor league season but the world isn't normal right now,” he said. “There's a lot of bigger problems with this thing, the virus going on, and everything else. So, you know, I'll take what I get, and I'm playing baseball right now. And that's pretty much it. Being safe trying to keep everyone else safe as well.” Even though he had the virus, he is still trying to be cautious. “I try not to do much,” he said. “I go to the apartment, and maybe go to the grocery store to get some food and bring it back here but always wearing a mask.” Contact Jeff Seidel: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff. To read his recent columns, go to freep.com/sports/jeff-seidel/.