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Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz throws out first pitch at Fenway Park

By Connor Grott

Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz made a surprise appearance Monday night at Fenway Park, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the team's series finale against the New York Yankees.

In his first public appearance since getting shot in his native Dominican Republic in June, Ortiz received a standing ovation from fans before delivering the first pitch to former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek.

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Following the pitch, Ortiz addressed the Fenway crowd.

"I want to thank God for giving me a second opportunity in my life to be here with all of you," Ortiz said. "I want to thank the Red Sox, my real family. They always have been there for me, supporting me. ... They were the first ones there supporting me."

Ortiz, 43, was shot in the back by a gunman while at a nightclub in the Dominican Republic on June 9, resulting in a 9 mm bullet passing through his intestines and internal organs. He underwent emergency surgery in the country before being airlifted to Boston the next day.

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Ortiz spent seven weeks in a hospital and underwent three surgeries for life-threatening injuries.

"I want to thank you for all your prayers, all of them came home," Ortiz said.

Ortiz, also known as "Big Papi," was a 10-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion with the Red Sox.

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