The retired Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was flown on the team’s plane to Boston this week, days after he was shot in his native Dominican Republic.
Now, per ESPN, Ortiz has undergone an exploratory surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and is now in stable condition. In fact, spokesman Leo Lopez told the network Ortiz is alert, and “he even flashed that smile.”
Ortiz was shot at a club Sunday in Santo Domingo, suffering damage to his intestines and liver. Per ESPN, the former player was shot by a man who had gotten off a motorcycle. Police have arrested both the alleged shooter and the driver of the motorcycle. The driver, meanwhile, was found and beaten by a group of people at the nightspot.
After surgery in the Dominican, Ortiz was flown to Boston Monday. He is expected to make a full recovery.
The New York Post reported Monday that Ortiz may have been shot by a corrupt cop-turned-hitman, while The Daily Mail reported that the shooting may have been in connection with Ortiz’s alleged affair with the wife of a drug dealer. Lopez denied that the shooting had anything to do with an affair.
Ortiz played 20 years in the major leagues, six with the Minnesota Twins, and the rest with the Red Sox, who he helped lead to three World Series championships since 2004.
Looking forward to seeing that smile again Big Homie. When the odds seemed against you that’s when you were at your best, now we need you one more time!! They can’t keep you down Big Papi ???????????? rest well hermano! pic.twitter.com/pr6C5mi6Yo
— Jimmy Rollins (@JimmyRollins11) June 10, 2019
In addition to his 541 home runs, the player known as “Big Papi” is also beloved in New England for the speech he gave at Fenway Park in the first home game after the Boston marathon bombing in 2013. Following his retirement after the 2016 season, The Boston Globe called Ortiz “the best thing ever to happen to the Red Sox.”
The Red Sox held a moment of reflection for Ortiz before Monday’s game, per the team’s Twitter account. Ortiz, per MLB, currently has a “multifaceted role” with the Red Sox organization, which includes everything from mentorship of young players to personal appearances to recruiting potential free agents.
Ever since the shooting, well wishes have been pouring in from Ortiz’s former teammates, rivals, and other notable people.
“Six years ago, David Ortiz’s spirit and resolve helped us all begin to heal from the Boston Marathon bombing,” President Obama tweeted, along with a photo of Ortiz presenting a jersey to Obama at the White House. “Today, I want to join many others in wishing him a speedy recovery of his own. Get well soon, Papi.”