Photo taken Oct. 10, 2016, showing former Boston Red Sox first baseman and designated hitter David Ortiz during a game in the American League division series. EFE-EPA/ CJ Gunther
Boston, Jun 11 (efe-epa).- Former Major League first baseman and designated hitter David Ortiz, who was shot recently in his native Dominican Republic, underwent surgery for the second time, this time in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, his wife Tiffany said on Tuesday.
«David arrived at Massachusetts General Hospital (Monday) night and underwent a successful second surgery,» said his wife in a statement.
«He is stable, awake, and resting comfortably this morning in the ICU where he is expected to remain for the next several days,» she added, going on to thank the owners of his former team – the Boston Red Sox – John and Linda Henry, Tom Werner, team president Sam Kennedy and the team itself «for all that they are doing for David and our family.»
She also thanked the hospital staff as well as «everyone for the outpouring of support and love that we have received during this incredibly difficult time.»
The chief of surgery at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Horacio Hojman, told the media that if Ortiz does not experience any hemorrhaging or infections he could recover in «one or two months.»
The second surgery lasted until 1 am on Tuesday, according to Ortiz’s spokesman, Leo Lopez, who added that the 43-year-old former slugger will remain under observation for 48 hours.
The former Red Sox pitcher was shot once in the lower back/abdominal region at a nightclub on Sunday night and underwent emergency surgery lasting six hours at Clinica Abel Gonzalez in Santo Domingo, during which doctors removed his gallbladder and part of his intestine. He also suffered some liver damage in the shooting but is expected to make a full recovery.
His press spokesman, Jhoel Lopez, who was with him at the time of the shooting, was also wounded and is in stable condition.
Once his condition stabilized, Ortiz – known as «Big Papi» – was transferred to Boston on board an air ambulance sent to the Dominican Republic by the Red Sox.
In remarks to cable television station ESPN, Leo Lopez said that Ortiz is alert, speaking with his family and even smiling faintly at times.
In the Dominican Republic, authorities arrested a 25-year-old man identified as Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia who was allegedly operating the motorcycle that the gunman used to flee the shooting scene, and five other people are under investigation.
The National Police said that two assailants arrived at the establishment on the motorcycle and one of the men shot Ortiz and Lopez, after which the subjects tried to flee on the motorcycle but fell down.
One of the suspects got away on foot, but Feliz Garcia was grabbed by other bar patrons, who beat him before handing him over to police.
The motive for the attack on Ortiz is not known.
Ortiz is known as a «hero» in both his native Dominican Republic and in the US, where he has often supported causes favoring the most needy and helping minorities.
Ortiz finished his 20-year Major League Baseball career with a .286 batting average, 541 home runs, 2,472 hits, 1,768 runs batted in, 1,419 runs scored, 632 doubles and a .620 slugging percentage.
The slugger was a 10-time All Star, won seven Silver Slugger Awards, received two American League Hank Aaron Awards and won the Roberto Clemente Award. He also set the Red Sox’s single-season home run record with 54 during the 2006 season.
Last October, the Dominican Chamber of Deputies honored Ortiz, who was the World Series Most Valuable Player in 2013, «for his outstanding role as a competitor, as well as his achievements inside and outside the stadium.»
A month later, President Danilo Medina made Ortiz a goodwill ambassador.