Former slugger David Ortiz arrived in Boston on a Red Sox team plane and was taken to a hospital on Monday, a day after he was shot in the back while at a Dominican Republic nightclub.
The Red Sox legend was transported from Boston’s Logan Airport to Massachusetts General Hospital by ambulance with a police escort.
Ortiz had been listed in stable condition in the intensive care unit of a Dominican Republic hospital earlier Monday following surgery for gunshot wounds.
ESPN’s Enrique Rojas tweeted Monday afternoon that Dr. Abel Gonzalez, who performed the surgery in the Dominican Republic, had said Ortiz was in stable enough condition to travel.
Earlier in the day, Ortiz’s media assistant updated his condition.
“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 told ESPN.
The 43-year-old Ortiz, recognised as the beloved “Big Papi” by baseball fans during his 14 seasons in Boston, was attacked Sunday night 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, Lopez 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 the shooting brought an outpouring of support on social media Monday morning, many of them remembering the role Ortiz played in helping the city to recover from the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
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.”
From New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady: “Papi defines Boston Strong… get well soon my friend!!!”
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 post season 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.