Former Red Sox legend David Ortiz threw the first pitch Monday night at Boston’s Fenway Park in a game against the Yankees, marking his first public appearance since he was shot in the Dominican Republic in June.
The pitch, tossed to team captain Jason Varitek, prompted fans to go understandably wild.
“I want to thank God for giving me a second opportunity to be here with all of you,” the retired slugger told the crowd. “Thank you very much, Red Sox family.”
Ortiz also thanked his former teammates as well as the Yankees.
“A lot of my boys over there came to check on Big Papi; I appreciate it,” he said, likely referencing Yankee players and fellow Dominicans Gary Sánchez and Edwin Encarnación, who visited Ortiz at his home last week.
Ortiz had been shot in the back at a bar while visiting his home country. Following the incident, doctors removed his gallbladder and a portion of his intestine, The Associated Press reported. He also sustained liver damage.
The player underwent three surgeries total after experiencing complications from the gunshot wounds, according to his wife, Tiffany Ortiz. In July, he was released from the hospital and started rehabilitation at home, according to the Red Sox.
The attorney general of the Dominican Republic, Jean Alain Rodriguez, claimed the intended target of the shooting was the person Ortiz was seated next to, Sixto David Fernández.