June 15, 2019 / 1:31 AM / a month ago

MLB notebook: Gunman says he shot Ortiz by mistake

The man charged with shooting Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz admitted that he shot him but said he was hired to kill someone else.

FILE PHOTO: Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz smiles during warmups before facing the Toronto Blue Jays in their MLB American League East baseball game in Boston, Massachusetts, September 21, 2013. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter/File Photo

TMZ Sports reported Friday that 25-year-old Rolfi Ferreira Cruz told reporters who had crowded outside the jail in the Dominican Republic that Ortiz was not the target. Through the bars of his cell, Cruz said he was sent to the Santo Domingo club on Sunday to kill a man who happened to be dressed like Ortiz.

Late Thursday, police in the Dominican Republic arrested three more people in connection with the shooting, bringing the number of people in custody to nine. At least one more person is being sought.

CNN reported Friday afternoon that authorities in the Dominican Republic disputed the report, saying Cruz had admitted to them that Ortiz was the target of the attack. Instead, they speculated he had changed his story because he feared retribution from Ortiz fans inside the jail.

—New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge began a rehab stint at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as he continues his recovery from a strained left oblique.

Judge has been sidelined since being injured against the Kansas City Royals on April 20. He is batting .288 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 20 games this season. Judge served as the designated hitter on Friday night.

The team also said outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will join Judge at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to continue his rehab stint. Stanton (calf) hit three homers in two games for Class-A Tampa earlier this week. Boone said Stanton could rejoin the Yankees on Tuesday if he doesn’t have any setbacks.

—Oakland Athletics outfielder Stephen Piscotty had surgery to remove a melanoma from his right ear and is expected to return to action within the next week, the team announced.

A dermatologist identified a mole on his ear as suspicious, and a biopsy determined it was skin cancer. The surgery was performed Thursday at the California Pacific Medical Campus by Dr. Brian Parrett, who removed the mole in its entirety, the team said.

The A’s added that Piscotty is resting at home and would be evaluated daily as he awaits the results of a pathology report. Piscotty, 28, is batting .250 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs in 65 games this season.

—Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein said Ben Zobrist, who has been on the restricted list since May 7 for personal reasons as he goes through a divorce, could return to the team in 2019.

“There’s been a little definition added to how he hopes this thing might go,” Epstein said. “I’ve been in constant touch with Zobrist. He knows the door is open.”

Zobrist, 38, and his wife, Julianna, have three children. A return for Zobrist isn’t imminent, however. Zobrist, a three-time All-Star in his 14th major league season, is in the final year of a four-year contract with the Cubs.

—Detroit Tigers prized pitching prospect Casey Mize appears to have avoided a serious injury when an MRI exam identified inflammation but no structural damage in his right shoulder.

Mize, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft out of Auburn, departed his Thursday start for Double-A Erie in the third inning after experiencing a loss of velocity in his pitches. Erie placed Mize, 22, on the seven-day injured list on Friday.

Noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews was among those who reviewed the test results, which found soreness on the back of Mize’s pitching shoulder. Mize, who is rated the No. 1 pitching prospect and No. 3 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, is 8-0 with a 0.92 ERA in 13 starts in the minors this season.

—Field Level Media

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