Retired Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz is listed in stable condition in the intensive care unit of a Dominican Republic hospital Monday morning following surgery for gunshot wounds. "Doctors say he is out of danger, but he is heavily sedated and will be in intensive care for the next 24 hours," Leo Lopez, Ortiz's media assistant, told ESPN.
The 43-year-old Ortiz, recognized as the beloved "Big Papi" by baseball fans during his 14 seasons in Boston, was shot in the back Sunday night while visiting a nightclub in Santo Domingo. Lopez said Ortiz underwent six hours of surgery. Doctors removed his gallbladder and part of his colon and intestines. Ortiz also sustained liver damage, he added.
"Doctors say that David is out of danger, thank God," Ortiz's father, Leo Ortiz, told ESPN. "What they have told me post-op is that the doctors believe he will recover quickly." His father added: "Big Papi will be around for a long time.''
Police said Ortiz was shot at nearly point-blank range by a man identified as Eddy Feliz Garcia, 25. Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte, the director of the Dominican National Police, said a group of people at the bar surrounded the suspect and beat him before police arrived, per ESPN. Garcia was treated at a local hospital and released to police.
Police said it is unclear whether Ortiz was targeted. Two others also were wounded in the attack.
Jhoel Lopez, a Dominican television host, was shot in the leg, and his injuries were not considered life-threatening. Police did not detail the injuries to the third person or make an identification. The news of Ortiz' shooting brought an outpouring of support on social media Monday morning.
From former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi: "Thoughts and prayers to David Ortiz and his family. A man that defines the city of Boston. Get better Big Papi." From the Washington Nationals: "David Ortiz is a one-of-a-kind baseball legend. Wishing Big Papi a full and speedy recovery."
And from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh: "Boston is thinking of you, @davidortiz, and wishing you a full and quick recovery. Get well soon." Ortiz ended his 20-year big league career in 2016 when he earned the last of his 10 All-Star appearances. The former designated hitter and first baseman won seven Silver Slugger awards in his career, and he hit 541 home runs with 1,768 RBIs in 2,408 games in the majors. He ranks 17th in major league history in career home runs.
Ortiz began his major league career by playing six seasons for the Minnesota Twins (1997-2002), but his career blossomed after he joined the Red Sox. His postseason heroics helped Boston capture its first World Series title in 86 years in 2004 when he was the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series as the Red Sox overcame a 3-0 series deficit to the New York Yankees in seven games. He also helped the Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013, capturing World Series MVP honours in the latter season.
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