Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wanderer Franco has announced that he has been placed on the restricted list and will be taking a leave of absence from the club during their current road trip.
The 22-year-old is under investigation by both Major League Baseball and authorities in the Dominican Republic over his recent social media posts.
An MLB official told Yahoo Sports that MLB is investigating. the authorities of the Dominican Republic, According to the Associated Press, opened an investigation against Franco for an alleged affair with a minor. Details of this investigation or allegations are not yet known.
The social media posts in question first appeared Sunday, and the Rays issued a statement after the game against the Cleveland Guardians.
“During today’s game we were made aware of the social media posts being circulated regarding Wander Franco,” Rice said. “We take the situation very seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts due diligence.”
The Rays did not elaborate on the social media posts. Rays manager Kevin Cash declined to comment after Tampa lost 9-2 to the Guardians on Sunday, other than saying he was “aware” of the flyers. Franco was not in the Rays lineup on Sunday.
“I am aware of speculation,” Cash said. Via Kyle Burger from ABC. “I won’t comment further on that. The day off was due to a (scheduled) day off.”
Franco is in his third season with the Rays. He earned his first All-Star nod of the season and averaged . 281 at the plate with 17 home runs and 58 RBI. He made his first career start to lift the Rays past the Guardians on Friday. Sunday’s loss to Cleveland ended the three-game series in St. Petersburg.
The Rays sign Franco to an 11-year, $182 million deal in 2021.