The Boston Red Sox are sending their best wishes to David Ortiz, a former player whom team president and CEO Sam Kennedy called one of the most important and beloved in the team’s storied history.
The Red Sox sent a plane to the Dominican Republic on Monday to transport Ortiz, who was shot Sunday, to Boston for further medical treatment, Ortiz’s media assistant, Leo Lopez, told ESPN’s Enrique Rojas.
“I love David Ortiz; we all love David Ortiz. So telling my kids last night what had happened was really difficult. And I know the same holds true for everyone up here, for ownership,” Kennedy said at a news conference Monday. “It’s hard to express what David Ortiz means to the Boston Red Sox.”
Ortiz, 43, was shot at a club in Santo Domingo. A team of surgeons operated on Ortiz for six hours and removed part of his intestines and colon, as well as his gallbladder. Ortiz also suffered liver damage.
“I just hope that when he gets here, everything is fine, and we can see the big man again with us, and filling our room with joy,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It’s something that you don’t expect. …there’s more important things than the Red Sox, winning or losing, pitching changes, this and that. It’s life.”
Former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek becomes emotional talking about David Ortiz and is very complimentary of his former teammate.
Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, a close friend of Ortiz and a fellow Dominican, was among the first of many to offer prayers for the legendary slugger.
I’m at peace knowing you out of danger; you a strong man Compai, can’t wait to hear your voice. My thoughts and prayers are with you, see you soon.
Me siento tranquilo de saber que estás fuera de peligro, usted es fuerte Compai, ya quiero oírle la voz. Orando, nos vemos pronto pic.twitter.com/jdSnNsM7eI
— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) June 10, 2019
Red Sox starter David Price played with Ortiz during his last season and said the Boston icon embraced him with open arms.
“I didn’t want it to be anything about me and him; I wanted it to be all about him. And he didn’t want it to be all about him; he wanted it to be about us as a team. So — I’ve got nothing but love and respect for Big Papi, and he’s well aware of that,” Price said.
Mookie Betts echoed that sentiment Monday, saying Ortiz made him feel welcome and at home during his rookie year.
“I can’t speak for other people, but for me, he’s like a big brother and a dad at the same time,” Betts said.
The outpouring of support for Ortiz extended far beyond his former teammates on Monday. President Barack Obama and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady were among those who sent get-well wishes.
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. pic.twitter.com/9orpBgnVI5
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 10, 2019
Papi defines Boston Strong… get well soon my friend!!! pic.twitter.com/QFFJ4nvQnU
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) June 10, 2019
The Red Sox are expected to honor the All-Star and World Series MVP before Monday night’s game against the Texas Rangers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.