Per ESPN’s Joon Lee, Ortiz threw out the first pitch prior to Monday’s game against the New York Yankees, appearing in public for the first time since the June shooting. The Red Sox shared a video of the emotional scene in which Ortiz addressed a crowd that greeted him with nothing but love after he threw the pitch to former teammate Jason Varitek:
— Red Sox (@RedSox) September 9, 2019
“First of all, I want to thank God for giving me a second opportunity in my life to be able to be here with all of you,” Ortiz said (h/t Mike Pescaro of NBC Boston). “I want to thank the Red Sox, my real family. They always have been there for me, supporting me. They were aware of what happened to me, and they were the first ones there supporting me. Thank you very much, Red Sox fans.”
Ortiz also put the rivalry aside and thanked the members of the Yankees for being there for him after the shooting, as well.
Pescaro noted 14 people have been arrested in the case, and investigators in the Dominican Republic deemed the shooting a case of mistaken identity and said the Red Sox legend was not the intended target.
He was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment after initial surgery in the Dominican Republic and was released in July.
Ortiz also hired former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis to further investigate the shooting.