David Ortiz will return to Fox as a studio analyst for Major League Baseball’s 2019 postseason – nearly four months after he was shot in the back at a nightclub in the Dominican Republic.
The beloved slugger spent the majority of his 20-year playing career with the Boston Red Sox and retired in 2016. He joined the Fox broadcast as a guest analyst for the 2014 World Series and has been a staple of the network’s MLB coverage since. The three-time World Series champion has had some memorable moments on-air; such as when he and Alex Rodriguez recounted the 2004 American League Championship Series in 2018.
Boston famously rebounded from a 3-0 deficit against Rodriguez’s Yankees that year and would go on to win their first World Series since 1918. Ortiz was named MVP of the series after a pair of walk-off hits to keep the Red Sox in it.
“This is the most torturous segment I’ve ever done in my Fox career; thanks Papi,” Rodriguez joked.
Ortiz, a native of the Dominican Republic, hinted at his own return in a Tuesday tweet, which included a photo of him, Rodriguez, Kevin Burkhardt, Alex Rodriguez and Frank Thomas in the studio. He captioned the picture with a “soon” emoji.
In an interview with The Boston Globe on Sept. 7 – his first interview with an English-language publication since he was shot – Ortiz described the calamity that took place when a gunshot rang out at a Santo Domingo bar in June. A bullet struck Oritz in the back at close range and rendered him unable to flee or move. It tore through his gallbladder, intestines and liver, requiring a six-hour emergency surgery to save his life.
Since then he’s been through two more surgeries, including treatment for a nearly-lethal bacterial infection that affected his digestive system. He was unable to keep food down for seven weeks and received nourishment through feeding tubes. Though he has made strides in recovery and several suspects were arrested in connection with the attack, Ortiz told the Globe his physical and psychological wounds have lingered.
Authorities later said Ortiz was a victim of mistaken identity and the shooter intended to target a friend, who wore similar clothing.
“People need to understand, this isn’t a movie where you get shot in the street and you’re back two minutes later,” Ortiz told the Globe. “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.” Ortiz has said he expects to make a full physical recovery by Thanksgiving.
On Sept. 9, Ortiz threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park in his first public appearance since being hospitalized.
“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, addressing a raucous crowd. “I want to thank the Red Sox, my real family. They have always been there for me, supporting me. They were aware of what happened to me and they were the first ones there supporting me.”