ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco was placed on indefinite administrative leave on Tuesday by Major League Baseball as authorities in the Dominican Republic investigate allegations of the All-Star’s relationship with a minor.
Franco, 22, is reportedly being investigated by the National Agency for Boys, Girls, Adolescents and Family and Gender Violence Unit, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Franco had been on MLB’s restricted list since Aug. 14 and did not accompany the Rays on their six-game road trip to the West Coast.
“The administrative leave, effective immediately, is not disciplinary under the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. We will comment further at the appropriate time,” MLB said in a statement on Tuesday.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Rays removed all signage of Franco at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Sports Illustrated reported.
“We support Major League Baseball’s decision to place Wander Franco on Administration Leave,” the Rays said in a statement. “The Tampa Bay Rays are dedicated to upholding high standards of integrity both on and off the field. We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans and supporters as this process unfolds. We will have no further statements on this matter until MLB completes its process.”
MLB can place a player it is investigating on administrative leave for up to a week at a time, according to the Times. The organization can extend the leave with the union’s approval, the newspaper reported.
Franco has not played since Aug. 12 against the Cleveland Guardians. He denied the allegations in an Instagram Live video recorded in the Rays’ clubhouse the next day before Tampa Bay’s game at Tropicana Field, according to MLB.com.
He has not issued a statement or spoken publicly about the allegations.
“Just let the process kind of unfold,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters before Tuesday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies. “Probably not worth commenting any further.”
In November 2021, Franco signed an 11-year, $182 million contract that includes an option for the 2023 season, NBC Sports reported.
He was named an All-Star for the first time this season.
Now in his third season with the Rays, Franco is hitting .281 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
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