Home Sports Rays’ Wander Franco placed on administrative leave amid probe into alleged relationship with minor

Rays’ Wander Franco placed on administrative leave amid probe into alleged relationship with minor

Rays’ Wander Franco placed on administrative leave amid probe into alleged relationship with minor

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Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco has been placed on administrative leave through June 1 amid an investigation into allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a minor.

The decision was reached Thursday under an agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ association, The Associated Press reported. 

Wander Franco vs Marlins

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco throws to first base during the Miami Marlins game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, on July 25, 2023. (Jonathan Dyer-USA Today Sports)

The 23-year-old All-Star was removed from the 40-man roster as the Rays prepare to open the season against the Toronto Blue Jays. News of the decision was first reported by The Tampa Bay Times. 

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The move was later recorded on MLB’s transaction wire.

Franco was arrested in his native Dominican Republic earlier this year after previously being placed on administrative leave in August amid an investigation into allegations that he had maintained an inappropriate relationship with a minor when he was 21. 

He was later released under the condition that he meet with local authorities once a month. 

Wander Franco in the DR

Wander Franco, center, arrives in court under heavy escort in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on Jan. 5, 2024. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

PROSECUTORS SAY RAYS STAR WANDER FRANCO REFERRED TO MINOR AS ‘MY GIRL,’ ‘LOVED’ THEIR RELATIONSHIP: REPORT

Originally accused of commercial and sexual exploitation and money laundering – charges that carry up to 30, 10 and 20 years in prison, respectively – Franco stands accused instead of sexual and psychological abuse, according to a judge’s resolution that The Associated Press obtained in January.

He has not been formally charged. Sources told ESPN that Thursday’s agreement allows MLB to change Franco’s status with the league if there are further developments in the case. 

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Wander Franco vs Guardians

Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays during the Cleveland Guardians game at Tropicana Field on Aug. 12, 2023, in St Petersburg. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Franco, who last played in a game Aug. 12, signed an 11-year, $182 million contract extension in November 2021. He is due to earn $2 million this season and is under contract through 2032. Being placed on administrative leave will allow him to earn his 2024 salary despite not reporting to spring training. 

MLB will likely wait to make a decision regarding any potential disciplinary action until the criminal investigation in the Dominican Republic is complete. Prosecutors were given a six-month period in January to present their case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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