As he continues to recover from being shot in the Dominican Republic, longtime Red Sox slugger David Ortiz threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park Monday.
Big Papi jogged out as the Sox got ready to take on the New York Yankees and expressed his gratitude.
"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. "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."
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It was his first appearance at Fenway since he was seriously injured in a June shooting in the Dominican Republic. Investigators in that country have said that Ortiz was not the intended target and that he was a victim of mistaken identity. Fourteen people have been arrested in the case.
Ortiz privately hired former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis to investigate the shooting.
The legendary designated hitter was released from Massachusetts General Hospital in July.
"I want to thank all of you for all the prayers. All of them came home. I really appreciate it," Ortiz said Monday. "Thank you very much."
The appearance comes before the final game of a four-game series against the Yankees. The Red Sox fired Dave Dombrowski, its president of baseball operations, after the third game, a 10-5 Boston loss.
Before Monday's game, Ortiz thanked players on both teams for their support.
"I want to thank my former teammates for being there for me also, all of them came home to check up on their boy," Ortiz said. "Also, I also want to thank the Yankees — a lot of my boys over there came and checked up on Big Papi. Thank you very much, I appreciate it."
Ortiz, a 10-time All-Star, made quite a mark on Fenway Park, hitting .286/.380/.552/.931 in his career with 541 home runs and the 2013 World Series MVP. He played 14 seasons in Boston.