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David Ortiz: ‘Big Papi will be back soon’ as recovery from shooting continues

“Big Papi will be back soon,” David Ortiz says.
“Big Papi will be back soon,” David Ortiz says.Elise Amendola/Associated Press/File 2016/Associated Press

Retired Red Sox legend David Ortiz said Monday through a spokesman that his continued recovery from a near-fatal shooting in Santo Domingo last month will require the same focus he had as a player, and he also vowed that “Big Papi will be back soon.”

The statement was released on Ortiz’s behalf by the Boston-based public relations executive Joe Baerlein. It came after Ortiz left Mass. General on Friday.

“I am feeling good, but know I need to do my rehab just like I did when I was recovering from injuries playing baseball,” Ortiz said in the statement.

Hours earlier, he had taken to Instagram to say he was glad to be home.


“Being at home and look at my family celebrating that lm here safe is priceless,” Ortiz wrote. “Thank for all the prayers.” He added in the posting, which included a photo of a steak on a grille, “Too bad l can’t crush food yet!!!!”

His posting elated many supporters including former teammate Kevin Millar, who won a World Series with Ortiz in 2004.

“My dawwwwwwwg,” Millar wrote in response to Big Papi’s message.

Vladimir Guerrero, another retired ballplayer who like Ortiz put up big power numbers, also welcomed the news. He wrote in Spanish that it was important for Ortiz to be with his family and added the hashtag #BigPapiStrong.

And comedian Josh Wolf, a Massachusetts native, also sent good vibes Papi’s way, writing on Instagram, “Great to see you home.”

The statement that Baerlein released on Ortiz’s behalf included thanks to his medical team, the Red Sox, and fans for their support during his recovery. Ortiz said of the medical staffs in Santo Domingo and at Mass. General, “They are some of the best teammates I have ever had.”

Ortiz, 43, was shot at close range at a nightclub in the Dominican Republic on June 9, and nearly died from traumatic injuries to his liver, small intestine, large intestine, and gallbladder, which was removed. He immediately underwent surgery in Santo Domingo, and then was flown to Boston the next day on a team-chartered airplane for a second operation and prolonged recovery that included yet a third surgery in mid-July at Mass. General.


The Red Sox confirmed over the weekend that Ortiz had been released from the hospital.

Authorities in the Dominican Republican had originally said Ortiz was the target of a contract killing and was followed to the club the night of the shooting, which occurred on a patio at the Dial Bar and Lounge.

Then, authorities said the shooting was a case of mistaken identity and was meant to be an ambush of Ortiz’s friend Sixto David Fernández, who was seated at a table near him.

Fernández’s cousin, Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez, allegedly paid others to kill Fernández for reporting him to police eight years ago, leading to his arrest in 2011, authorities said.

Authorities have arrested at least 14 suspects in the shooting of Ortiz, including Gomez Vasquez, who has denied any involvement.

On Monday, Tiffany Ortiz, the wounded slugger’s wife, said in the statement released by Baerlein that she wanted to thank Phil Morse, vice chairman of the Red Sox board, for “his special acts of kindness and concern during a difficult time for me and my family.”

Tiffany Ortiz, in a statement released by the Red Sox on July 11, had said her husband “underwent a third surgery for complications resulting from his gunshot wound” and that he was “recovering well and ... in good spirits.”


Laura Crimaldi of the Globe Staff and Globe Correspondents Kellen Browning and John Hilliard contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.