David Ortiz left a hospital in the Dominican Republic Monday bound for Boston on a plane provided by the Red Sox.
Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy confirmed earlier in the day that the team was sending a plane to the Dominican Republic with the hope that Ortiz would be in Boston by Monday night.
“Right now, the club’s exclusive focus is on David’s health and well-being,” Kennedy said at a news conference, “and we’re doing everything we can to get David back to Boston as soon as possible.”
Ortiz, an iconic figure with the Red Sox, was shot Sunday at a club in Santo Domingo. A team of surgeons, led by Gonzalez, operated on Ortiz for six hours and removed part of his intestines and colon, as well as his gallbladder. Ortiz also suffered liver damage.
Doctors approved Ortiz’s transfer for further treatment, Dr. Abel Gonzalez told ESPN.
“The level of stability that Big Papi is showing at this moment makes it possible for him to travel immediately,” Gonzalez said.
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. pic.twitter.com/9orpBgnVI5
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 10, 2019
Papi defines Boston Strong… get well soon my friend!!! pic.twitter.com/QFFJ4nvQnU
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) June 10, 2019
Authorities said Ortiz was ambushed by a man who got off a motorcycle and shot him in the back at nearly point-blank range around 8:50 p.m. local time Sunday at the Dial Bar and Lounge.
Police had two suspects in custody Monday afternoon: the suspected shooter and the suspected driver of the motorcycle.
The motorcycle driver has been identified as 25-year-old Eddy Feliz Garcia, who was captured and beaten by a crowd of people at the bar, according to Dominican National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte.
Garcia suffered a cranium contusion and trauma to his thorax, left knee and right leg, according to the Dominican Republic’s National Health Service. He was treated at the Dario Contreras Hospital in Santo Domingo before being released to police custody.
Former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek becomes emotional talking about David Ortiz and is very complimentary of his former teammate.
Police have not yet released the identity of the suspected gunman. Earlier Monday, police spokesman Col. Frank Duran Mejia had identified Garcia as the suspected shooter.
Investigators are trying to determine whether Ortiz was the intended target, Bautista said. Ortiz’s father, Leo, told local media he had no idea why someone would have shot at his son.
Ortiz, who was born in Santo Domingo, played major league baseball for 20 seasons and was best known for the 14 years he spent with Boston.
The Red Sox issued a statement late Sunday night that said in part, “We have offered David’s family all available resources to aid in his recovery and will continue to keep them in our hearts.”
Ortiz made 10 All-Star teams and won three World Series with the Red Sox before retiring in 2016. He was named World Series MVP in 2013, when he helped the Red Sox knock off the St. Louis Cardinals.
He had helped rally the city after the Boston Marathon bombings that year, giving a speech at Fenway Park, telling the crowd to stay “Boston strong.”
“We all remember in 2013, when we needed David Ortiz the most, he was there for us in late April. And so it’s appropriate and expected that this community would rally around David when he needs us the most,” Kennedy said.
The Red Sox retired Ortiz’s No. 34 in 2017, and Boston renamed a bridge and a stretch of road outside Fenway Park in his honor. He maintains a home in Weston, on the outskirts of Boston.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.