TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco is no longer on the restricted list, but will not be appearing on the field any time soon.
In statement Tuesday, the MLB announced Franco was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of their investigation.
“Per an agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, Wander Franco has been placed on Administrative Leave until further notice as MLB continues its ongoing investigation,” the league’s statement read. “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.”
The Rays said they support the MLB’s decision to place Franco on leave, writing 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.”
The 22-year-old All-Star shortstop was placed on the restricted list for a week on Aug. 14 while MLB launched an investigation following social media posts suggesting Franco was in a relationship with a minor. The AP has not been able to verify the reported posts.
Ángel Darío Tejeda Fabal, a prosecutor in the Dominican Republic province of Peravia, said an investigation into Franco was open under a division specializing in minors and gender violence.
Franco was held out of the Rays’ lineup on Aug. 13 in what manager Kevin Cash said was a day off, then missed a six-game West Coast trip while on the restricted list.
MLB and the players’ association agreed to the joint domestic violence policy in 2015. It allows a player to be placed on administrative leave for seven days but allows for MLB to request extensions while it investigates.
A player continues to receive pay and accrue major league service while on administrative leave.
Franco has salaries of $2 million this season and next as part of a $182 million, 11-year contract that started in 2022. He is in his third big league season and was hitting .281 with 17 homers, 58 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 40 attempts over 112 games.
Eighteen players have been disciplined by MLB under the domestic violence policy. The latest was New York Yankees pitcher Jimmy Cordero, who agreed on July 5 to a suspension for the final 76 games of the season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.