There’s a word that seems to follow around David Ortiz, no matter if you’re talking about the player or the person.
“As a human, he’s one of the greatest guys you can be around,” Pablo Sandoval told KNBR on Tuesday.
“Off the field, he’s just a great guy,” Drew Pomeranz said. “He makes you feel comfortable no matter who you are talking to him.”
And it’s great, both said, that the baseball great is still with us.
The Red Sox legend, who was shot in his native Dominican Republic on Sunday, reportedly underwent a second surgery Tuesday, his wife telling ESPN he is in stable condition.
Sandoval has heard everything secondhand so far, not wanting to bother Ortiz’s family in a time of crisis. “When he’s feeling better” Sandoval will reach out, he said, never using the “if.”
The pair played together for Ortiz’s last two seasons, 2015 and ’16, two of the more lovable characters in baseball in the same Boston clubhouse. Sandoval said the two still are “real close” and, asked for a favorite Ortiz tale, he couldn’t narrow it down.
“Everything,” Sandoval said before the Giants hosted the Padres on Tuesday. “Every story with him was special. He made everything special. He’s the type of guy who makes you always feel comfortable. He’ll never put you in a spot where you’re going to feel uncomfortable.”
Pomeranz had a favorite. The starter was dealt to Boston in the middle of Ortiz’s farewell season, and he said the Red Sox legend immediately helped make him one of the guys. He wanted to pick the brain of a star who would finish with 541 home runs.
Pomeranz couldn’t remember the pitcher, but he could remember it was in Tampa.
“He was like, ‘He’s going to throw me a first-pitch curveball today and I’m going to hit a home run,'” Pomeranz said. “That’s exactly what he did. And that’s not the first time I heard him do that. It was incredible to see.”
If Ortiz is a legend in Boston, he’s a god in his homeland. The sole Giant born in the Dominican Republic, reliever Reyes Moronta, declined to speak, not yet comfortable talking about Ortiz.
“He means a lot for the Boston community,” said Sandoval, who is from Venezuela. “He means a lot for the baseball community. He means a lot for Latin American players. He means a lot.
“He does a lot of stuff that some people don’t know. He’s one of the greatest guys. He’s like our Roberto Clemente.”
Ortiz is still in intensive care after the shooting in Santo Domingo. Details have been scarce, but the bullet reportedly did damage to his intestines and liver.
“Everyone’s thinking about him and hoping he pulls through,” Pomeranz said.