Red Sox legend David Ortiz thanked the Red Sox, medical professionals and fans in his first remarks since he was shot in the Dominican Republic in June, vowing to return soon to the public eye.
"Big Papi will be back soon," Ortiz said, according to a statement released by public relations firm Baerlein & Partners.
Red Sox fans have been keeping close tabs on Ortiz's health since he was shot in the back at a lounge in Santo Domingo on June 9. He suffered serious injuries that resulted in the removal of his gallbladder and part of his intestines before being flown to Boston for further treatment.
“My deep appreciation goes to John and Linda Henry, Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and the entire Red Sox organization for providing the Red Sox plane that took me back to Boston from Santo Domingo and their continuing assistance to me and my family,” he said.
Ortiz "wanted to acknowledge the prayers and good wishes from the Dominican Republic and Red Sox Nation," the statement said.
Ortiz thanked Dr. Jose Abel Gonzalez and the medical team at the Center for Advanced Medicine in Santo Domingo, which cared for him in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
He also expressed gratitude to Dr. Larry Ronan and Dr. David King "as well as all the doctors, nurses, and caregivers at Mass General," the statement said.
The beloved slugger underwent three surgeries and was released from Massachusetts General Hospital on July 26. He will reportedly be rehabilitated at his home and monitored by his personal doctor and nurses.
“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.
Earlier Monday, Ortiz posted photos of food in Instagram — including a steak on a grill — and wrote that it was "priceless" to be at home, celebrating "that I'm here safe."
"Thank (you) for all the prayers. Too bad I can't crush food yet," he wrote.
Authorities in the Dominican Republic have said Ortiz was not the intended target of the hitman who shot him in a DR nightclub. Instead, they say it was Sixto David Fernandez, who was sitting next to Ortiz and wearing a similar shirt.