ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Bay Rays All-Star shortstop Wander Franco could soon learn whether he’ll return to the field or remain on the bench in the near future.
Major League Baseball (MLB) investigators are expected decide whether to drop or extend Franco’s stay on the restricted list or shift him to administrative leave amid allegations of a relationship with a minor.
Citing “a person very close to the investigations,” MLB Insider Hector Gomez, said it will be “very unlikely” that Franco will play in MLB again based on unreleased results of the investigation.
An update on Franco’s status is expected Monday.
The Tampa Bay Rays announced that Franco had been placed on the restricted list on Aug. 13 as the league investigated social media posts involving the shortstop.
“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 team told the Associated Press in a statement. “We support any steps taken by the league to better understand the situation.”
The Rays said they were made aware of Franco’s social media posts, saying, “We take the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence.”
Meanwhile, authorities in the Dominican Republic announced a separate investigation into Franco’s alleged conduct, assigning the case to a division specializing in minors and gender violence in the province of Peravia.
“This is a very delicate topic because there is a minor involved,” said Ángel Darío Tejeda Fabal, a prosecutor in Peravia. “We are working together (with Judge Diná Llaverías).”
Fabal said prosecutors are gathering evidence and testimonies but did not provide details.
“Next week, we might be able to give some of the necessary information without hurting the investigation,” he said.
The prosecutor added he has had no contact with Major League Baseball executives or U.S. authorities about the case.