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Ortiz takes first steps following second surgery

Jun 12, 2019

ESPN News Services

Former Red Sox star David Ortiz took his first steps Tuesday following a second surgery after he was shot in his native Dominican Republic on Sunday.

Ortiz, 43, arrived in Boston on Monday night for the surgery and is in stable condition, his wife, Tiffany, said in a statement sent through the team Tuesday. On Wednesday, she confirmed in a statement that her husband took some steps and was "making good progress towards recovery."

She said in the statement that Ortiz's "condition is guarded and he will remain in the ICU" at Massachusetts General Hospital "for the coming days."

Ortiz has been alert, has spoken to his family and "even flashed that smile," his media assistant, Leo Lopez, told ESPN. The second surgery lasted until about 1 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Lopez said, without specifying any details.

Ortiz was shot at a club Sunday in Santo Domingo and underwent emergency surgery to repair damage done by the bullet to both his intestines and his liver. He was stabilized and then flown to Boston and taken by ambulance, with police escort, to Mass General.

Authorities said Ortiz was ambushed by a man who got off a motorcycle and shot him in the back at nearly point-blank range around 8:50 p.m. local time at the Dial Bar and Lounge.

Police have two people in custody, the suspected shooter and the suspected driver of the motorcycle, a source close to the investigation told ESPN Deportes. A spokeswoman for the national prosecutor's office confirmed to reporters via WhatsApp that a second arrest had been made but declined to provide further details.

The motorcycle driver has been identified as Eddy Feliz Garcia, who on Tuesday evening was charged with attempted homicide and criminal association, according to his lawyer, Bunel Ramirez Meran. The lawyer told reporters that Garcia is innocent and did not shoot Ortiz.

Garcia was captured and beaten by a crowd of people at the bar after Sunday's shooting, according to Dominican National Police director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte.

Garcia suffered a cranium contusion and trauma to his thorax, left knee and right leg, according to the Dominican Republic's National Health Service. He was treated at the Dario Contreras Hospital in Santo Domingo before being released to police custody.

Police have not yet released the identity of the suspected gunman.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Ortiz was the intended target, Bautista said. Ortiz's father, Leo, told local media he had no idea why someone would have shot his son.

Ortiz, who was born in Santo Domingo, played major league baseball for 20 seasons and is best known for the 14 years he spent with Boston.

Eight of those seasons were spent playing for current Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona. On Tuesday, Francona said he spoke with one of the doctors who is treating Ortiz in Boston and said the retired slugger is "in great hands."

"[Ortiz] is a very special person, not just to me, but to a lot of people," said Francona, who managed Ortiz from 2004 to 2011. The veteran manager added that Ortiz "could light up a room" with his personality but also worked hard at his craft and was a team leader.

Ortiz made 10 All-Star teams and won three World Series with the Red Sox before retiring in 2016. He was named World Series MVP in 2013, when he helped the Red Sox defeat the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Red Sox retired Ortiz's No. 34 in 2017, and Boston renamed a bridge and a stretch of road outside Fenway Park in his honor. Ortiz maintains a home in Weston, on the outskirts of Boston.

ESPN's Marly Rivera and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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