David Ortiz said he is still trying to mentally process the shooting at a Dominican nightclub that seriously injured him and doesn’t know what led to the attack.
The retired Red Sox slugger spoke to Univision in an interview posted online Friday, his first since being shot.
Ortiz dismissed speculation that he was a target and said he wasn’t involved in anything shady that would have led to an attack.
“I don’t have enemies. I don’t know why anyone would want to do this to me,” he said.
As for any suspicion surrounding him, he takes it personally.
“I almost died, man,” he told Univision, tears in his eyes. “I was in a coma. People were criticizing me as if I deserved to be killed.”
Ortiz, the 2013 World Series MVP on Boston’s championship team, was shot in the back by a hired gunman who fired at close range, hitting him in the torso, police said. They said the intended target was another man.
He called the moment surreal and said he wondered if he would survive.
“When the bullet hit me, the first thing I felt was like a sting. The first five seconds I thought I was having a nightmare. (Then) a man named Eliezer, who I am very thankful for, he helped me and took me to the hospital,” Ortiz told Univision.
“I was feeling something that I had never felt before, and that was just the feeling of trying to survive,” he added.
Doctors in Santo Domingo removed Ortiz’s gallbladder and part of his intestine, and he was flown the next day on a Red Sox plane to Boston, where he had more surgery.
Ortiz earlier in the week made his first public appearance since the shooting, throwing out the first pitch before the Red Sox played the New York Yankees. Ortiz thanked the fans for their prayers and support.