Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz gave his first English-language interview since a near-fatal shooting at a bar in his native Dominican Republic in June.
Ortiz, 43, sat down with the Boston Globe in Fenway Park last week, explaining he’s determined to find out who is responsible for the shooting that caused him to undergo several surgeries and left him bound to a hospital bed for nearly seven weeks.
The 20-year MLB star known as “Big Papi” made his first public appearance since the shooting last Monday when he threw out the opening pitch at Fenway.
DAVID ORTIZ THROWS OUT FIRST PITCH AT FENWAY PARK MONTHS AFTER SHOOTING
“I want to find out who did this,’’ Ortiz told the Boston Globe. “I’m not going to sit around and chill if there’s somebody out there who wants to kill me.’’
“I’m not going to sit around and chill if there’s somebody out there who wants to kill me.’’
“I don’t know why I was involved in something like this because I’m not the type of person who looks for trouble or causes trouble,” he told the newspaper. “All I worry about is trying to help people, about trying to do the right thing.”
Eleven people, all of whom Ortiz said he didn’t recognize, have been arrested in connection with the June 9 shooting at the Dial Bar in Santo Domingo, where the former pro-baseball player was shot at close range while his back was turned away from an identified gunman who fled the scene.
Ortiz said he hired former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis to investigate the case after Dominican officials released conflicting motives to explain why he was shot. Officials in the Carribean island nation now blame the shooting on a case of mistaken identity. Ortiz also told the Globe how he experienced moments in the hospital “feeling like I was going to die.”
“I had nightmares all the time about being in the desert, looking for water,” Ortiz told the paper. “I would wake up with my mouth dry and feeling like I’m going to die.”
“I would wake up with my mouth dry and feeling like I’m going to die.”
“I felt that if I didn’t die, then I would never be the same again,’’ he continued. “I went through hell with that.” Ortiz also tipped his hat to medical staff at Massachusetts General Hospital for reassuring him that he would survive.
The Red Sox had Ortiz airlifted from the Dominican Republic to Massachusetts General Hospital where he underwent several surgeries to address his wounded intestines and liver. He also underwent surgery in the Dominican Republic the day before he was transported to Boston.
He said he contracted a dangerous acute bacterial infection during his hospital stay in Boston and had to substitute food for Jello and ice chips, causing him to lose about 40 pounds. He was released on July 27 — nearly seven weeks after he was shot.
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Dominican police now believe a suspected drug trafficker and fugitive named Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez offered to pay $30,000 for the murder of his cousin David Fernández after he was feeding information to authorities. Fernández was sitting next to Ortiz at the nightclub at the time of the shooting. Authorities initially said a $7,800 bounty had been placed on Ortiz for unknown reasons, according to the New York Post.
Ortiz is to return to his job as a Fox Sports analyst for the upcoming MLB postseason. He started his career with the Minnesota Twins then spent 14 years with the Red Sox and is one of the most popular players in the team’s history. He was a key player on three World Series-winning teams in 2004, 2007 and 2013. A 10-time All-Star, Ortiz finished his big league career with 541 home runs and 1,768 RBIs.