David Ortiz, the former Boston Red Sox star, is expected to be flown to Massachusetts General Hospital late Monday, a day after he was shot in his native Dominican Republic, the team said during a news conference.
Ortiz, 43, spent six hours in surgery at the Abel Gonzalez clinic in Santo Domingo, according to his longtime assistant Leo Lopez, after he was shot by a gunman from close range at a club in East Santo Domingo on Sunday night. Doctors removed his gallbladder and part of his intestine during the operation. Although Ortiz sustained serious injuries, including damage to his liver, his condition was stable enough for him to be moved to a new hospital, Lopez said.
Ortiz was sedated but woke up late Monday morning and spoke briefly to his father and sister, Lopez said.
The Red Sox provided an air ambulance to transfer Ortiz to Boston, as his family preferred he recover there after his operation.
“The events of last night shook our Red Sox family to its core,” Sam Kennedy, the president of the Red Sox, said at the news conference. “David Ortiz is one of the most celebrated and beloved members of the Red Sox family. On behalf of the entire organization, our thoughts and our prayers are with David.”
He added: “Please know we are doing everything we can to support David and his family during this very difficult period.”
The man who shot Ortiz had not been identified or arrested, but the authorities in the Dominican Republic told The Associated Press that a crowd of people had beaten the driver of a motorcycle that transported the gunman. The police were waiting to question the driver after he was treated for his injuries, according to the A.P. Investigators said they were trying to determine whether Ortiz was the intended target.
Ortiz’s father, Leo, told reporters he had no idea why someone would have shot at his son.
Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte, the national police director, said two other people had been wounded in the shooting, including Jhoel López, a Dominican television host who was with Ortiz, according to the A.P. The police did not identify the third person.
The shooting sent shock waves through the professional baseball community, especially in Boston. Several major league players, including Pedro Martinez, the former Red Sox ace from the Dominican Republic, offered support on social media after the shooting was reported late Sunday. On Monday, former President Barack Obama also posted a message for Ortiz on Twitter.
Commonly referred to by his nickname, Big Papi, Ortiz has raised millions of dollars through his foundation to help children’s medical needs in New England and the Dominican Republic. He may be best known for his role in helping the Red Sox end their 86-year World Series curse in 2004. That year, he buried the rival Yankees in the American League Championship Series with a home run to end Game 4, a single to win Game 5 and another home run in Game 7.
“I love David Ortiz. We all love David Ortiz. Telling my kids last night what happened was really difficult,” Kennedy said.