SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Ted Williams left San Diego Tuesday for a hospital close to his Florida home to continue his recovery and rehabilitation from open-heart surgery in January.
The baseball great, who was born and raised in San Diego, was discharged from Sharp Hospital, and his air ambulance flight left Lindbergh Field shortly before 3 p.m. EDT for the 4 1/2-hour flight to Gainesville, Fla.
The 82-year-old Hall of Famer was headed for Shands Hospital at the University of Florida. In early November, Williams was admitted to Shands and a pacemaker was placed in his chest to regulate his heartbeat.
``While the majority of his time at Sharp was spent in the intensive care unit, Williams made significant improvements and was in fair and stable condition for his transfer to the University of Florida,'' Dr. Allan Goodman, Williams' admitting physician, said in a statement.
Goodman said the Sharp staff was ``thrilled to see his progress. We understand and support the Williams family in their decision to move Ted closer to his home in Florida. The progress we have seen is encouraging and we hope his therapy and rehabilitation will continue.''
Williams was moved from a New York hospital to Sharp on Feb. 19. Sharp, which specializes in cardiac care and rehabilitation, is just a few miles from where Williams grew up.
Williams has lived in Florida since his playing days with the Boston Red Sox. Gainesville is about 50 miles from his home in Hernando.
Williams underwent heart surgery Jan. 15 in a 9 1/2-hour operation performed by a team of 14 doctors, nurses and technicians at New York's Weill Cornell Medical Center.
He had several setbacks after the surgery, including kidney failure, infections and the need to return to a respirator.
While hospitalized in San Diego, Williams was visited by former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda and former Red Sox teammate Dom DiMaggio.
Williams, who played his entire 19-year career with the Red Sox, was the last man to bat over .400 for a season, hitting .406 in 1941.
After playing 1 1/2 seasons of minor league ball with San Diego, he was obtained by the Red Sox in 1937 for the then-outrageous sum of $25,000 and five players. After a year in Minneapolis, he went to the major leagues in 1939.