MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles

Fans in Baltimore hold up a sign in tribute to Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz during a June game.

A BUSY WEEKEND in sports, both on and off the field.

NEWS ITEM: Big Papi wants some answers.

While all of us are wondering exactly what happened that led to David Ortiz taking a bullet in the back in the Dominican Republic, Big Papi is apparently wondering the same thing. So Ortiz has hired former Boston top cop Ed Davis to look into the events that left the big guy fighting for his life.

Ortiz is up on his feet, out and about and planning to work for Fox in the postseason. Great news! Now, he wants to know what happened. Enter Davis.

“He’s damn interested in finding out what really happened,’’ Ortiz spokesman Joe Baerlein told The Boston Globe.

“David has been carefully monitoring the government and police investigation. He had no basis for a long time to challenge their theory of mistaken identity. However, as new facts continue to come up, it lends some optimism that there may be some other conclusions that are drawn before it’s over about why David was shot.’’

We all look forward to Davis providing some real answers.

NEWS ITEM: Gordon, Chung return to the practice field.

You need a scorecard to keep track of the Patriots’ off-field stuff as the champs prepare for the preseason finale against the Giants.

Josh Gordon has been conditionally reinstated by the NFL. When you think about it, ANYTHING regarding the troubled receiver is conditional.

Patrick Chung has pleaded not guilty to cocaine possession (story, Page A4) and is back with the team, with full support of his teammates. We all have to remember innocent until proven guilty.

Ben Watson came out of retirement to return to New England and has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s drug policy. He was also in concussion protocol after a dirty hit from Eric Reid last Thursday night.

Fellow tight end Lance Kendricks, another body trying to fill the huge void left by Rob Gronkowski’s departure, has been suspended for the first game of the season for a drug offense.

Oh, and aren’t we all waiting for some sort of league slap on the wrist for owner Robert Kraft for what happened in Florida? Is that just all gone?

NEWS ITEM: Red Sox fail to cash in.

When one of the teams you’re chasing actually loses another game to the Orioles (thus splitting a four-game series), you have to take advantage. Late Sunday, the defending champs had a chance to get back to within five games of the Rays but failed to deliver any offense and lost to the Padres.

So, the Red Sox, off Monday in Denver, sat six games behind the Rays and 5½ behind the A’s, who also lost Sunday, for the second wild card. Oh, and the Indians, who just lost Jose Ramirez, probably for the season, are seven away in the loss column.

NEWS ITEM: Andrew Luck calls it quits

This major news surfaced over the weekend — and was followed by Indy fans booing Luck as he walked off the field.

At 29, the guy decided the physical and mental play was too much to bear. He is getting out while his body is still his. The Twitter world lost it over it.

Mostly, though, there was support, with at least one local voice comparing the uproar over Luck as the complete opposite of the reaction to Gronkowski.

Robert Snyder of NBC Sports Boston, tweeted, “Gronk retired this offseason at age 30 due to body and love for the game wearing down and I don’t remember Twitter being this ridiculous.”

He’s right.

Monday, Tom Brady, making his weekly WEEI appearance, said, “It is his life. Everyone has the right to choose what they want to do. He had a great career and he was a great player. Everybody wishes they could be healthy all the time.

“It is a contact sport and he’s certainly had his fair share of injuries, so guys retire at different times. Some at the end of the season, and I have seen a lot of guys retire before the season gets going and this is just one of those examples.”

Brady is 42. He has been far more upright and far less hurt than Luck.

By the way, the whole thing hit Bill Belichick pretty hard, the coach saying Monday, “He’s a good player. I didn’t see that (coming), but I don’t really follow them.”

NEWS ITEM: Hideous uniforms gone after Players Weekend.

The reviews were basically unanimous. Almost everyone hated the white and black softball uniforms worn by the players Friday-Sunday.

Seeing these unis brought fire to the eyes of many — or at least had them wishing for fire.

Tweeted Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe: “MLB Network should now gather up the Players Weekend uniforms for a highly rated bonfire.”

Added Tyler Kepner of the New York Times: “Now let’s burn all these uniforms and forget they were ever worn.”

Chad Finn of the Globe quipped, “Pretty sure fire doesn’t kill them.”

NEWS ITEM: Pablo will miss Fenway series.

While we are all looking forward to Mike Yastrzemski coming to Fenway in September, the added bonus was also the return of Pablo Sandoval, who is being paid by the Red Sox to play for the Giants this season.

But Sandoval, who hit .269 with 14 homers and an .823 OPS this season, has to undergo Tommy John surgery, which could put an end to his career. It will sideline him for the rest of 2019, which means he will miss the end of Bruce Bochy’s managerial run. Bochy is retiring after this season.

“Selfishly, I’d love to have some fun with him here the last five, six weeks,” Bochy said. “He’s just so much fun, his love for the game, his enthusiasm. Every day he comes up with a smile on his face. We haven’t quite seen that because he’s been a little down because of the injury. But for Pablo long term, this is the best thing.”

In other ex-Red Sox news, Clay Buchholz returned to the mound for the first time since May 5 Sunday, pitched well for the Jays but suffered the loss.

NEWS ITEM: USA team loses to Australia

The American men had never lost to Australia before Saturday night’s 98-94 defeat. It was the USA’s first international loss in 13 years.

“I think that it was a great learning situation for us, just about playing FIBA basketball,” Celtic Jaylen Brown told MassLive.

“The physicality, the rules, how it’s played, how it’s refereed. All those sorts of things. So, it was a great learning experience to have those two games against a very good team.

“I think there are infinite ways we can go. I just think that we have to go in the right direction. Move forward in terms of our mindset, in terms of a mentality, and I think that’s bigger than whether we overreact or underreact. We got to change our mentality.”


Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.