David Ortiz made his first public appearance since being shot on June 9, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch Monday for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The 43-year-old later recounted the harrowing details of the incident that hospitalized him for months and resulted in multiple surgeries.
"I felt a burning sensation," Ortiz told Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe. "I felt weird, like not myself, as I went down."
The 10-time All-Star was shot in the torso by an unknown assailant while at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The bullet wound up exiting Ortiz and getting lodged in his friend's leg.
"People need to understand, this isn't a movie where you get shot in the street and you're back two minutes later," Ortiz added. "No, I got shot and almost died. I only have one life to live. I can't just go to the pharmacy and buy another one."
After the shooting, Ortiz remembered being saved by a Good Samaritan. "This angel comes out of nowhere," he said. "He knew how to react. He kept talking to me to make sure I stayed awake."
The three-time World Series champion was aware he'd been shot but didn't fully understand the severity of his wounds. Eventually, the pain set in, and Ortiz remembers thinking: "Please don't let me die. I have four children. I want to be with them."
Ortiz lost 40 pounds in the seven weeks that followed surgeries in the Dominican Republic and Boston. He was forced to nourish himself with Jell-O and melted ice chips, unable to even keep down fruit. "I had nightmares all the time about being in the desert, looking for water," he continued. "I would wake up with my mouth dry and feeling like I'm going to die."
Initial reports suggested that a $7,800 bounty was placed on Ortiz. The affable Ortiz joked: "You gotta pay a lot more than that to get me killed. I ain't that cheap." However, police have since stated that Ortiz was not the intended target and that the bounty was closer to $30,000 in a drug-related crime.
"I want to find out who did this," he said. "I'm not going to sit around and chill if there's somebody out there who wants to kill me."
Ortiz has gained some weight back and recently went on a five-mile walk as he continues his recovery. He understands he'll need to be more careful moving forward. "I was always very accessible," he said, "but I think I'm going to have to cut down on that a little now."
Ortiz plans on joining FOX Sports as an analyst for the MLB postseason this October, as was originally planned.