Surreal scene at Fenway Park on Wednesday ... Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski threw out the first pitch of the night to his grandson -- Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemksi!!!
The odds of seeing this moment are wild ... to have Mike be called up from the minors this year AND to have S.F.'s schedule put the team in Boston this season are incredible coincidences.
But, the two squads took advantage of the opportunity -- allowing 80-year-old Carl to hurl the first pitch to 29-year-old Mike before the Giants played the Sox in the 2nd game of their 3-game series.
The video of the interaction is spine-tingling ... Mike has a huge smile on his face the whole time, and Carl -- one of Boston's all-time greatest athletes -- is clearly loving the moment too.
The Yastzemski's shared an embrace in the middle of the diamond after throw ... and when the game ended, Mike called it all "special."
"Honestly, I was thinking about the last time we had played catch," Mike said. "I remembered a time probably during Thanksgiving when I must have been 7 or 8 at his house."
"Being able to relive that and to go through that again on this type of scale and to have such a warm welcome from everyone was really awesome."
Mike killed it in his debut in the same batter's box Carl used to play in ... so far in the series, he's 3-for-11 with a home run, 4 runs scored and 2 RBIs. His team's gotten both wins too!
David Ortiz broke his silence with the media since being shot in the Dominican Republic, and he gave an emotional interview ... acknowledging he almost died there.
The former Boston Red Sox slugger spoke with Univision in a sit-down that aired in Spanish on Saturday, answering a number of questions related to the scary incident in his home country this past June -- when he was ambushed and shot in the back at a club.
Big Papi described the initial feeling of the bullet going in, saying he felt a stinging sensation ... adding that in the first five seconds, he felt like he was in a living nightmare. He said the shooting made him disheartened, as he has no problems with anybody.
Ortiz went on to explain that he never lost consciousness en route to the hospital, but said he experienced something he'd never quite felt before ... trying to survive for his life.
He says he's never had his life threatened before, and that him sitting with his back to the street and no security around should be an implication ... he's not someone who'd ever think he was in danger. Then came the question about who did it ... and why.
Ortiz says he has no idea why anyone might've wanted to kill him, again reiterating that he has no enemies ... and no issues with anybody (especially criminals) that would make him worry.
Big Papi also touches on a rumor that Dominican drug lord Cesar Emilio Peralta might've been the one who ordered the hit, but he again came back with uncertainty ... saying he couldn't think of any reason why that would be the case -- if, in fact, it is.
As we reported ... authorities in the Dominican Republic have made several arrests in connection to the shooting, including the alleged shooter himself. Cops say that Ortiz was not the actual target, and that the hit was a case of mistaken identity.
Ortiz is unclear on that himself, but one thing that clearly hurt him as he was in the hospital ... people apparently suggesting that he deserved what he'd gotten. He tears up as he recounts the recovery process, saying that at one point he was in a coma ... and almost died.
Still, it's pretty gut-wrenching to hear it all again from the man himself.
4:13 PM PT -- Naturally, Fenway Park went absolutely bonkers when Ortiz threw the first pitch to his old teammate, Jason Varitek.
Ortiz also briefly addressed the crowd before the game ... thanking everyone for his support during his recovery.
BIG PAPI'S BACK!!!!!!
David Ortiz is making his first appearance at Fenway Park since he was nearly killed in the Dominican Republic last June ... and Sox officials say he's going to throw out the first pitch!!!
So much so, the guy decided to hit up the Red Sox game Monday night to give his former squad a little bit of a boost heading into a rivalry game with the Yankees -- and fans are fired up!!!
Unclear if Papi will take the mound for the first pitch or just throw the heat from the infield grass ... but either way, it'll be a welcome sight for EVERYBODY in the baseball world!!!
By the way, the Yankees have paid their own tribute to the Sox legend recently ... superstars Edwin Encarnacion and Gary Sanchez went to visit him before they started the series last week.
Props for the cool move!!!
Originally Published -- 4:00 PM PT
MLB superstar Mookie Betts is paying homage to his old teammate when he hits the diamond for Players Weekend ... rockin' Big Papi cleats that have their own gold chains!!
The Red Sox MVP decided to do a sick tribute to David Ortiz on his cleats for the special weekend (when players can wear custom kicks and fun nicknames on their jerseys).
The finished personalized Jordan 13s are DOPE -- with images of Papi, his signature, the classic Fenway Park Green Monster and his trademark gold chains!!
Mookie designed the cleats himself ... and it's obviously a sick tribute to the Red Sox legend who was nearly killed in a shooting the Dominican Republic back in June.
David has been recovering in Boston ever since ... and is doing well, recently saying, "Big Papi will be back soon."
Ortiz is a 3-time World Series champ, 10-time All-Star and has his #34 retired ... so yeah, the tribute is warranted.
Yasiel Puig just had the best pre-game warm up of his life ... 'cause just a few hours before the Indians game against the Red Sox -- he got sworn in as a U.S. citizen!!!
The MLB superstar had the ceremony Wednesday ... and it didn't take long for him to pridefully post about it on social media.
"Thank you God for this great opportunity to be an American citizen," Puig said ... adding, "ususus."
Puig reportedly unsuccessfully tried to defect to America many times ... and when he did make it in summer 2012, the journey was long and treacherous.
He was taken by small boat to Mexico where he was held hostage by smugglers looking for a big money payout from the future MLB star.
Yasiel was ultimately taken to America ... and now 7 years later, he's a US citizen.
The Indians -- who are set for first pitch against Boston in Cleveland at 10 AM PT -- even shouted out the outfielder after the special moment, writing, "Puig our citizen"
"Congratulations to Yasiel Puig becoming a United States citizen!"
Of course, Indians players have done this often over the past year ... relief pitcher Oliver Perez was sworn in earlier this month, while infielders Carlos Santana and Hanley Ramirez had their ceremonies in April.
Johnny Damon is sending a huge warning signal to the AL's top dogs ... telling TMZ Sports if the Yankees and Astros let Boston climb into the postseason -- the Sox might just win it all!!!
We got Johnny out in NYC this week and had to ask some baseball questions ... and that's when the 2-time All-Star told us teams NEED to be afraid of the Red Sox's potential.
"If they can somehow get above Tampa and make the playoffs, they're going to be scary," Damon says.
And, if you think Johnny is just blowin' smoke because he's a Sox legend ... he ain't -- he tells us he's still got some bitterness toward the way he left the team after the 2005 season.
"Boston and I, it was a little like a divorce," he says.
Johnny tells us the Red Sox are legit this year ... and if they had actually signed a closer in the offseason, he thinks they'd be much closer to the Yankees in the AL East standings right now.
Still, Damon says he thinks the Astros are the favorite for now ... saying when he watched Justin Verlander pitch earlier this week -- he didn't seem hittable!!!
David Ortiz has been released from the hospital where he's been recuperating from a nearly fatal gunshot wound he suffered in the Dominican Republic.
Big Papi was reportedly discharged Friday from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and was sent home with his family. According to ESPN, the former Red Sox slugger will continue his rehabilitation at his house, where he'll be monitored by full-time nurses.
He'll also have his personal doctor regularly check in on him as he continues to heal.
This is great news for Ortiz, who was shot in the lower back at point-blank range. He went into emergency surgery there on the island nation, and was eventually transported to the Boston area hospital where he remained in the critical condition for a while.
He was taken out of the ICU late last month and was listed as being in good condition. Looks like that trend has continued ... now, he's out of the hospital and seemingly on his way to a full recovery.
As we reported ... doctors found the bullet that struck Ortiz had pierced his liver, his small and large intestines -- he even had to have his gall bladder removed during surgery.
D.R. officials have said that Ortiz was not the intended target of the attack -- and was simply a victim of mistaken identity. A man named Rolfi Ferreira Cruz was named as the suspected shooter, and he's been arrested and booked -- with lots of other people brought in as well.
David Ortiz suffered a setback in his recovery from gunshot wounds -- and required a third surgery to fix complications earlier this week ... the Red Sox announced Thursday.
Big Papi was shot in the back in the Dominican Republic last month ... but after two surgeries shortly after, his wife and the Red Sox said he was recovering well.
But, the Sox just announced Ortiz suffered complications from the injuries recently ... and needed a third procedure to fix the issues this week.
Good news for Big Papi, the team says he is now "recovering well and is in good spirits."
As we previously reported, Ortiz was shot in the back at point-blank range while he was sitting outside of a nightclub on June 9 ... with the bullet striking his liver and his small and large intestines.
Ortiz underwent emergency surgery immediately after in the D.R. -- and doctors said they were forced to remove his gall bladder at the time.
Ortiz was flown to Boston just hours later to have a second surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.
David's wife, Tiffany Ortiz, has previously said David was able to sit up and take steps ... and added, "he remains in good condition and continues to recover under the care of Drs. David King and Larry Ronan."
As for the Sox, they say, "We continue to be incredibly appreciative of the kindness and compassion shown to David and to our entire family during this difficult time."
The mastermind behind the David Ortiz shooting has been arrested in the Dominican Republic, officials say.
Victor Hugo Gomez is the man who allegedly put the wheels in motion for a team of hitmen to roll up to a popular lounge with murderous intent on June 9.
Of course, Dominican officials have now said they don't believe Ortiz was the intended target that night -- insisting the shooter mistook the MLB legend for a friend who was sitting nearby.
Ortiz was hit in the back -- but the bullet caused serious damage to several organs including his intestines and liver. After the initial life-saving surgery, Ortiz was flown to Boston where he's been receiving treatment ever since.
As for Gomez, officials say he put out the hit on Ortiz's friend while Gomez was inside the United States. Officials say Gomez has a criminal record and possible ties to a drug cartel.
So far, at least 10 people have been arrested in the investigation -- including the shooter Rolfi Ferreira Cruz, who has said on the record that Ortiz was not his target.
Story developing ...
David Ortiz's recovery from a shooting continues to go well -- the former Red Sox slugger is no longer in the intensive care unit of a hospital, according to his wife.
The health update came Sunday, courtesy of the team on behalf of Tiffany Ortiz, who says David is out of the ICU at Massachusetts General Hospital ... adding that he "remains in good condition and continues to recover under the care of Drs. David King and Larry Ronan."
That's great news, as David was still hospitalized in the ICU as of Tuesday -- 9 days after he was shot in the back at point-blank range earlier this month in the Dominican Republic.
As we reported ... David health status was upgraded from serious to good after he'd been transported from a D.R. hospital to one in the Boston area after undergoing surgery -- where doctors found the bullet struck his liver, his small and large intestines. Ortiz also had his gall bladder removed so the medical staff could work on the affected organs.
According to D.R. officials, David was NOT the intended target -- but got shot after a case of mistaken identity. Police say a man named Sixto David Fernandez was the guy the shooter wanted, allegedly because he'd once ratted out a drug runner to cops.
The alleged shooter, Rolfi Ferreira Cruz, was arrested in booked in the D.R. ... at least ten people are believed to connected to the shooting, according to officials there.
4:29 PM PT -- Officials say Sixto David Fernandez was the target of the attack because Victor Hugo Gómez believed Sixto "ratted him out" to police years ago.
The gunman who shot David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic earlier this month DID NOT mean to target Big Papi ... so say D.R. officials, who say it was Ortiz's FRIEND they wanted to kill.
D.R. police and prosecutors just announced Sixto David Fernandez -- who was allegedly sitting near Ortiz at Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo on June 9 -- was supposed to be the target.
Unclear why Fernandez was the target. We're trying to gather information on who Fernandez is and what he does for a living. All we know so far is that cops say he's buddies with Ortiz.
Officials say the gunman who shot Big Papi from point-blank range in the back was confused by the clothing Ortiz was wearing and fired on him instead of Fernandez.
A cell phone image taken of Sixto by one of the alleged accomplices in the crime was allegedly used to identify Sixto for the hit.
But officials say the gunman mistook white items near Sixto as white pants (Ortiz was wearing white pants that night) ... and that's where the confusion all began.
Officials say they were able to confirm all this because they were able to obtain the picture that was circulated amongst the alleged criminals.
Officials also say a man named Victor Hugo Gómez -- a 43-year-old who's wanted in the United States after being caught in a major federal drug bust -- is the one who ordered the hit.
As we previously reported, officials say at least 10 people were paid around $8,000 to complete the hit.
25-year-old Rolfi Ferreira Cruz admitted to being the man behind the gun ... but said from his D.R. jail cell last week Ortiz was NOT his intended target.
Prosecutors say regardless of who the intended target was ... they still plan to pursue serious criminal charges against all of the alleged suspects.
Originally published -- 3:30 PM PT
A Dominican Republic hoops team showed MAJOR love for David Ortiz over the weekend ... ditching its normal set of unis for jerseys with Big Papi's face as the logo.
It all went down Sunday ... when Huellas del Siglo -- a local team in the D.R. -- rocked some bright orange gear that featured a picture of Ortiz tipping his Red Sox cap with the words "Big Papi" written underneath.
Of course, Ortiz was nearly killed last week when a man opened fire on his back outside of a nightclub in Santo Domingo.
But, fortunately for everyone, the MLB legend is doing better after surgery ... and Huellas del Siglo was so happy for the news, they broke out the custom jerseys against San Carlos.
"Today we pay homage to the living legend David Ortiz," the team said of the uniforms in Spanish ... "and we continue to pray for his total recovery."
Turns out, the new Papi duds were good luck ... Huellas del Siglo won their game, 83-81.
Cardinals superstar Marcell Ozuna says he ain't scared to return to the D.R. after David Ortiz was shot Sunday ... but he tells TMZ Sports he will have to watch his back in his home country now.
"I'ma be careful," the 28-year-old Santo Domingo native admits.
Ortiz was sitting outside of a bar over the weekend when a man walked up from behind and shot him at point-blank range.
Ozuna tells us he's not ready to go that far with his feelings on the D.R. yet ... but says he will have to be on high alert when he's back home now.
"I'm not afraid," the outfielder says ... "But I'ma be careful."
As for Big Papi ... his wife, Tiffany, says he's continuing "to make progress" in his recovery from the shooting.
The man who shot MLB legend David Ortiz issued a desperate statement from his jail cell Thursday -- admitting he pulled the trigger ... but claiming Big Papi was NOT the man he was trying to kill.
25-year-old Rolfi Ferreira Cruz peeked his face out through bars in the Dominican Republic to address the hoards of reporters crowded outside the jail ... and made the shocking comments.
"It wasn't supposed to be David," Rolfi said in Spanish from behind a barred window ... explaining it was the color of David's clothing that confused him.
You can also hear another man in the cell -- presumably another suspect in the case -- telling Rolfi in Spanish, "Tell them it wasn't meant for David."
Cruz did NOT reveal who the intended target was -- only suggesting he was sent to the Dial Bar on Sunday to kill another man who was dressed like Ortiz that night.
El imputado Rolfy Ferreras Cruz, indicado por las autoridades como la persona que disparó en contra del ex pelotero de Grandes Ligas; David Ortiz, dijo hoy que baleó por error al deportista. “Solo me dijeron el color de ropa” declaró Rolfi, desde la celda del destacamento PN. pic.twitter.com/5mrvlbUnrg@informate809not
So far, at least 6 people have been arrested in the attempted murder plot -- and cops are still searching for other suspects ... including Luis Alfredo Rivas-Clase, who is also a suspect in a 2018 shooting in Pennsylvania.
Officials still have not revealed a possible motive for the attack.
Surveillance footage of the incident show 2 men -- including Cruz -- rolling up to the bar on a motorcycle. Cruz walks right up to Ortiz and shoots him in the back before trying to make a getaway.
The motorcycle crashed and the suspects tried to flee -- but one man was stopped and beaten by bystanders.
As for Ortiz ... his wife, Tiffany, says he's been able to sit up and take steps this week ... adding, "He continues to heal and make progress."
Dominican Republic prosecutors have released new video that shows a different angle of a man shooting David Ortiz in the back ... as well as the motorcycle crash that followed the attack.
Prosecutors say 25-year-old Rolfi Ferreira Cruz and several others were paid around $8,000 to try to kill Big Papi in the D.R. last Sunday night.
Officials say the plan involved two cars and a motorcycle ... and they allege the new video they released late Wednesday shows the whole scene.
You can see in the vid ... two men arrive on the scene riding the same motorcycle, when one gets off near the nightclub that Ortiz is partying at.
The guy casually strolls up the sidewalk ... and then pulls out a gun and fires on the Red Sox legend's back. He then takes off, and gets back on the motorcycle with another man.
But, the new video shows the two men crashed to the pavement just yards away from the shooting ... with one of the men able to flee the scene.
Of course, the other man wasn't able to make a break for it ... getting caught by bystanders and then beaten to a pulp.
D.R. officials say they've arrested six men total in the plot to kill Ortiz so far ... and say there is still at least one man on the run.
As for Ortiz ... his wife, Tiffany, said in a statement Thursday, "David remains in guarded condition in the surgical intensive care following his second surgery. He continues to heal and make progress."
"David will continue to recover in the ICU and future updates on his condition will be provided when necessary."
David Ortiz's wife is shouting out the man who raced the MLB star to the hospital -- crashing his own car in the process -- in the wake of Sunday's assassination attempt in the Dominican Republic.
"I want to take this opportunity to offer our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Eliezer Salvador, owner of Presidente Sports, for your quick thinking and swift action on Sunday night," Tiffany Ortiz said in a statement.
"Your heroism and selflessness were the first steps to ensuring David could get the urgent care he required. For that we are eternally grateful."
Salvador runs a sports betting firm in the D.R. and was at the scene when Big Papi was shot Sunday night. When Ortiz went down, Salvador quickly put the legend in his own car and raced to the hospital because he didn't want to wait for an ambulance.
Salvador says he raced at speeds of over 100 MPH and made the trip in under 7 minutes. He later made a social media video showing that he had David's jewelry so the family wouldn't worry.
Tiffany says the quick-thinking decision may have saved David's life.
Ortiz's wife also gave props to the doctors who worked on David.
"To the amazing surgeons, medical team, and staff at the Abel Gonzalez Clinic in the Dominican Republic, there are no words to express our gratitude for the amazing care you provided."
'Without you, our story could have had a tragic ending. You will forever be our guardian angels."
As for David's condition ...
"David remains in guarded condition in the surgical intensive care following his second surgery. He continues to heal and make progress."
"David will continue to recover in the ICU and future updates on his condition will be provided when necessary."