Wander Franco investigations continue as Rays prepare for the playoffs without their star shortstop

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Wander Franco remains away from the Tampa Bay Rays as they prepare for the postseason, leaving the team without one of its most dynamic young players amid investigations into an alleged relationship between Franco and a minor.

The 22-year-old has been sidelined since mid-August, when he agreed to a one-week stay on the restricted list and later was shifted to administrative leave while Major League Baseball and authorities in Franco’s native Dominican Republic investigate.

Here’s what you need to know about Franco’s status for postseason play and beyond:


The one-time No. 1 prospect in baseball was placed on administrative leave indefinitely by MLB while authorities in the Dominican Republic investigate Franco for an alleged relationship with a minor.

The investigations follow reported social media posts suggesting Franco was in a relationship with a minor. The Associated Press has not been able to verify the reported posts.

Ángel Darío Tejeda Fabal, a prosecutor in the Dominican Republic province of Peravia, said last month that an investigation into Franco in that country was open under a division specializing in minors and gender violence.


Franco, who has salaries of $2 million this season and next as part of a $182 million, 11-year contract, continues to be paid and receive service time while on administrative leave under an agreement with the players’ association that didn’t set a timetable for a decision on whether he will be disciplined by MLB.

The first-time All-Star hasn’t played since Aug. 12, two days before the Rays placed him on the restricted list for a week and MLB began looking into the social media posts.

MLB said moving Franco from the restricted list to administrative leave on Aug. 22 was not disciplinary under the sport’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. That leave is frequently set with a seven-day limit under the policy, but there’s no such timeframe on Franco’s leave.


MLB likely will wait until the investigation in the Dominican Republic concludes before deciding whether there will be any discipline.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer was on administrative leave from July 2, 2021, until the following April 29, when he was suspended for 324 games. The penalty was reduced by an arbitrator to 194 games. Bauer was accused of sexual assault, accusations he has repeatedly denied. He is now pitching in Japan.


The Rays have spent weeks preparing for the likelihood that Franco — a first-time All-Star batting .281 with 17 homers, 58 RBIs and 30 stolen bases over 112 games this season — will not be available for the playoffs, which start Oct. 3.

Rookie Osleivis Basabe and another young infielder, Taylor Walls, have been primary replacements during Franco’s absence. Minor league infield prospect Junior Caminero was promoted to the majors last week and could be part of the playoff roster.


Despite losing three starting pitchers to season-ending injuries and playing significant stretches without several other key players, Tampa Bay is in the playoffs for a franchise-record fifth consecutive year.

Since Franco last played, the second-place Rays have gone 25-14 through Sept. 26 to not only remain in wild-card contention but on the heels of the Baltimore Orioles for the AL East lead.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb