ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tampa Bay Rays announced Monday that shortstop Wander Franco mutually agreed to be placed on the restricted list for the duration of their current road trip. The announcement came prior to the Rays’ series opener against the Giants in San Francisco on Monday night. According to an MLB official, the league is investigating social media allegations made about his behavior.
The club made the following announcement Monday afternoon: “The Tampa Bay Rays and Wander Franco have mutually agreed that he will go on the Restricted list and take leave from the Club for the duration of the current road trip.”
The Rays issued a separate statement soon after the above announcement: “We support any steps taken by the league to better understand the situation. Out of respect for all parties involved, we have no further comments at this time.”
Franco did not travel with the Rays on their Sunday night flight to San Francisco, where they will begin a three-game series against the Giants on Monday night. Tampa Bay’s road trip continues this weekend in Anaheim before the team returns home on Aug. 22.
In a statement released Sunday night, the Rays said they were made aware of the social media posts during Sunday’s game and were “in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence.”
On Sunday, social media posts went viral alleging that Franco, 22, had been in an inappropriate relationship with a minor.
Franco was out of the lineup on Sunday but remained in the Rays’ dugout at Tropicana Field for the first five innings of their 9-2 loss to the Guardians. As the allegations surfaced and spread on social media, Franco left the ballpark before the game ended. Manager Kevin Cash said before the game it was “just a day off” for the All-Star shortstop and repeated as much after the game.
“I'm aware of the speculation. I'm not going to comment any further on that,” Cash said. “But the day off was because [it was] a day off."