Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz, in his first public appearance three months after being shot in the back in the Dominican Republic, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Monday night’s game against the New York Yankees in Fenway Park.
Ortiz came out of the dugout to a standing ovation, then delivered the pitch to former teammate Jason Varitek.
“First of all, I want to thank God for giving me a second opportunity in my life to be here with all of you,” Ortiz said, addressing the crowd.
“I want to thank the Red Sox, my real family. They always have been there for me, supporting me, they were aware what happened to me. And they were the first ones there supporting me. Thank you very much, Red Sox family. I want to thank all of you for all the prayers; all of them came home. I really appreciate — thank you very much.
“I want to thank my former teammates for being there for me also. All of them came home to check up on this boy. Also, I want to thank the Yankees. A lot of my boys over there came to check up on Big Papi. Thank you very much, I appreciate it. CC (Sabathia), (Edwin) Encarnacion, all y’all — thank you very much.
“God bless you all. Go Sox.”
The 10-time All-Star was shot June 9 as he visited a club in his hometown of Santo Domingo. He had surgery for internal injuries that evening, when doctors removed his gallbladder and part of his colon and intestines. He was flown to Boston the next day and spent almost two weeks in intensive care at Massachusetts General Hospital, undergoing more surgeries.
Police in the Dominican Republic have said Ortiz was not the intended victim in the shooting.
Ortiz, 43, retired after the 2016 season after helping the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004, 2007 and 2013.
Ortiz hit 541 home runs with 1,768 RBIs in 2,408 games in the majors, spending his first six seasons with the Minnesota Twins (1997-2002) before his career blossomed when he joined the Red Sox.
—Field Level Media