The Boston Red Sox have sent an air ambulance to the Dominican Republic to fly former Major League Baseball all-star David Ortiz to a US hospital after he was shot and wounded in his hometown.
Ortiz was shot in the back at an amusement centre in Santo Domingo and was listed in stable condition in an intensive care unit after undergoing six hours of emergency surgery.
“David Ortiz is probably the most beloved and one of the most important players in our history, leading us to multiple World Series championships, and an active member in the community,” said Red Sox team president Sam Kennedy during a news conference on Monday.
“I would be hard-pressed to think of anyone more beloved than David. It’s a very difficult day for the organisation.”
He added that “it’s hard to express what David Ortiz means to the Boston Red Sox.”
The 43-year-old Ortiz, recognised as the beloved “Big Papi” by Boston fans during his 14 seasons with the Red Sox, was shot while visiting a nightclub.
Doctors removed his gallbladder and part of his colon and intestines, and Ortiz also sustained liver damage.
A team spokesman said on Monday evening that an air ambulance carrying Ortiz had departed the Dominican bound for Boston and the Massachusetts General Hospital for continuing treatment.
“Doctors say he is out of danger,” Ortiz’s spokesman Leo Lopez told ESPN.
Two other people were wounded in the shooting, including Dominican TV host Jhoel Lopez who was with Ortiz, ESPN reported, quoting the Dominican National Police director.
It was not known who was the intended target.
Ortiz, who was born in Santo Domingo, made 10 All-Star appearances in his 20-year career. He retired three years ago.
The former designated hitter hit 541 home runs with 1,768 RBIs in 2,408 games in the majors.
Ortiz began his career by playing six seasons for the Minnesota Twins (1997-2002), but his career took off after he joined the Red Sox.
He helped Boston capture their first World Series title in 86 years in 2004, when he was the MVP of the American League Championship Series.
He also helped the Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013.