Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco was placed on the restricted list and will take a leave from the club during their current road trip, the team announced on Monday.
The 22-year-old is being investigated by both Major League Baseball and authorities in the Dominican Republic over recent social media posts.
An MLB official told Yahoo Sports that MLB is investigating the matter. Dominican Republic authorities, according to The Associated Press, launched an investigation into Franco for an alleged relationship with a minor. Specifics about that investigation or the allegations are not yet known.
The social media posts in question first surfaced Sunday, and the Rays released a statement after their game against the Cleveland Guardians.
“During today’s game, we were made aware of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco,” the Rays said. “We take the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence.”
The Rays didn’t go into specifics about the social media posts. Rays manager Kevin Cash declined to comment after Tampa’s 9-2 loss to the Guardians on Sunday, other than saying he was “aware” of the posts. Franco was not in the Rays’ lineup Sunday.
“I’m aware of the speculation,” Cash said, via ABC’s Kyle Burger. “I’m not going to comment any further on that. The day off was because of a [scheduled] day off.”
Franco is in his third season with the Rays. He earned his first All-Star nod this season and is averaging .281 at the plate with 17 home runs and 58 RBI. He hit his first career walk-off to lift the Rays past the Guardians on Friday. Sunday’s loss to Cleveland wrapped the three-game series in St. Petersburg.
The Rays signed Franco to an 11-year, $182 million deal in 2021.