Like everyone who follows baseball, legendary New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was shocked to see the news Sunday about David Ortiz being shot in the Dominican Republic.
Unlike everyone, Rivera counts Ortiz as a close friend — despite the fact they lived on opposite side of baseball’s most famous rivalry for so many years.
In an exclusive chat Tuesday with Yahoo Sports, Rivera talked about when he heard the news and his reaction.
“It was hard to see that,” Rivera told Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyser. “Seeing your friend fighting for his life, our prayers were with him. I was just asking the Lord to give him another opportunity.”
Rivera and Ortiz share the same agent, and Rivera considers Ortiz a “good friend of mine.”
“Right now, thank God he's OK,” Rivera said. “Hopefully he recovers quickly.”
The most recent reports have Ortiz successfully out of a second surgery in Boston, and taking his first steps since the shooting on Tuesday. Leo Lopez, who is Ortiz’s spokesman, told reporters:
"He is walking, a few steps this morning, but it’s step by step," Lopez said. "We are really excited about it because it’s just one day after surgery.”
Meanwhile, Tiffany Ortiz — Big Papi’s wife — released a statement Tuesday saying: “He is stable, awake, and resting comfortably this morning in the ICU where he is expected to remain for the next several days."
Which is good news for all his fans and friends within the game. Like Rivera.
“He has a great heart, a giving heart,” Rivera told Yahoo Sports, “and is always there for other people.”
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