Baseball Star David Ortiz Back in Boston After Attack in the Dominican Republic

Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz was flown to Boston, Massachusetts on June 10, a day after he was shot and seriously injured in his native Dominican Republic. Ortiz, better known in Boston as “Big Papi,” was at the Dial Bar and Lounge in East Santo Domingo on June 9 when he was shot by a gunman at close range, authorities said. The bullet entered Ortiz’s back and exited through his abdomen.

The 43-year-old underwent six hours of surgery at Dr. Abel González’s clinic in Santo Domingo, Ortiz’s longtime assistant Leo López told reporters. Doctors in the Dominican Republic removed Ortiz’s gallbladder and part of his intestine, The New York Times reported. Ortiz also sustained damage to his liver but was in stable condition. “We were just hanging out and going about our way,” Ortiz’s brother Eloy said, according to The Times. “This doesn’t make sense.”

Ortiz was operated on by a team of surgeons led by Dr. González, who told reporters he expects Ortiz to make a full recovery, ESPN reported. Gonzalez said that after Ortiz overcomes the shooting, his quality of life will be “the same as before.” López told reporters that Ortiz woke up the day after his shooting and briefly spoke to his father and sister.

“The events of last night shook our Red Sox family to its core,” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said at a news conference on June 10.

Kennedy confirmed that the baseball team was sending a plane to the Dominican Republic to bring Ortiz back to Massachusetts General Hospital. He arrived via an air ambulance at around 10 p.m., WCVB reported.

Ortiz’s transfer was approved, with González saying the former athlete was looking forward to returning to Boston and reuniting with his wife.In Boston, the baseball legend underwent a second surgery and was placed in intensive care, his wife Tiffany Ortiz said on June 11. Ortiz was in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery. In a statement released through the Red Sox, Tiffany thanked the organization, Dr. Larry Ronan, and the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital for what they have done for her husband.

“Lastly, I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love that we have received during this incredibly difficult time. We ask for privacy as David works towards recovery,” she said, according to ESPN.ESPN Deportes reported that police have the suspected shooter and the suspected motorcycle driver that carried the gunman in custody. The suspected gunman has not yet been identified.

The driver was captured and beaten by a group of people at the bar. He was identified as 25-year-old Eddy Féliz García. The Dominican Republic’s National Health Service said García sustained a cranium contusion, as well as trauma to his thorax, left knee, and right leg. García was treated at the Dario Contreras Hospital in Santo Domingo and was later released to police custody.According to The New York Times, investigators were attempting to find out if Ortiz was the intended target. National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte said two other people had been injured in the shooting, including Dominican television host Jhoel Lopez, who was with Ortiz.

The baseball world and beyond shared their well-wishes for the World Series-winning former player. Former Red Sox teammate Pedro Martínez said he was “at peace” knowing Ortiz was out of danger. “You a strong man Compai, can’t wait to hear your voice. My thoughts and prayers are with you, see you soon,” Martínez tweeted. “Keep fighting @davidortiz!!! No coward can take down a [superhero] like you. Love you buddy!!!” former teammate Kevin Youkilis tweeted.

Ortiz also got well-wishes from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who said Ortiz “defines Boston Strong,” and from former President Barack Obama. “Six years ago, David Ortiz’s spirit and resolve helped us all begin to heal from the Boston Marathon bombing. Today, I want to join many others in wishing him a speedy recovery of his own. Get well soon, Papi,” Obama wrote on Twitter.

Big Papi was born in Santo Domingo and played major league baseball for 20 seasons. He spent 14 years with the Boston Red Sox, winning three World Series with the team. He retired in 2016.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.