DENVER – The shooting of Red Sox icon David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic on Sunday night sent shockwaves through front offices and clubhouses throughout baseball, but perhaps none more than in Boston and in Chicago – where the executives who originally signed him in Boston now run the Cubs.
“He’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met and been around,” said former Red Sox teammate Jon Lester, the Cubs’ ace. “One thing I know that’s been said about him numerous times, and you can’t say it enough, is just how big of a heart he has.”
Ortiz underwent six hours of surgery overnight in the Dominican, and the Red Sox provided a plane for him to be transported Monday to Boston, where he was to receive further treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, according to reports.
Dr. Abel Gonzalez, the lead surgeon operating on Ortiz Sunday night, said doctors repaired damage to Ortiz’s liver and both intestines and that he anticipated a full recovery, according to one report.
“Great man, great man,” said Cubs third base coach Brian Butterfield, who was with Orttiz for four of his five years as a Red Sox coach before joining the Cubs. “He’s impacted so many people. … Just a wonderful human being.
“We’ve got some people in our family praying for David right now.”
Lester texted Ortiz as soon as he got the news and early Monday morning tweeted his “utter shock.”
The tweet continued: “That was no robbery, that was a hit, and they better get to the bottom of it. Thank god no amount of evil or hate can overcome a heart that big. You got this @davidortiz, we love you bro!”
News reports said Ortiz was shot from behind at near point-blank range by a gunman who jumped off the back of a motorcycle as Ortiz walked with friends at a night club. The driver was grabbed off the motorcycle and severely beaten by witnesses, the report said.
Both suspects reportedly were in custody Monday.
“When bad things like that happen to a person like that you can only hope for the best,” Lester said. “And hopefully he can get back home and see his family and get into Boston with some of those doctors there and hopefully everything’s OK.”
Former teammates and friends from all over baseball tweeted and spoke publicly about one of the most beloved players of his generation.
“He’s going to be OK,” Butterfield said. “He’s tougher than any 10 men.”