The Tampa Bay Rays and Wander Franco “mutually agreed” the shortstop will go on the restricted list and take a leave from the team amid MLB’s investigation into social media posts involving the player.
The Rays released a statement on Franco’s status hours after ESPN reported he wasn’t with the team as they make their way to San Francisco to start a series with the Giants on Monday night.
“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 Rays said Monday.
Tampa Bay will be on the road through next Sunday. After the Giants, they take on the Los Angeles Angels. The Rays return home to face the Colorado Rockies starting on Aug. 22.
Franco was not in the starting lineup during Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Guardians.
“During today’s game, we were made aware of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco,” the team 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 detail the nature of the social media posts.
Franco was in the team’s dugout to start the game but left in the fifth inning. He was the key component of the organization’s promotion on Sunday – it was Wander Franco Snapback Hat Day and fans 14 and under could receive one when they walked through the gates into Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash was asked whether there was any issue that Franco wouldn’t play other than having a scheduled day off. He said, “No.”
“I’m aware of the speculation, and I’m not going to comment any further on that,” Cash said. “The day off was because [it was] a day off.”
Franco was an All-Star for the first time this season. He is hitting .281 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI. He signed an 11-year, $182 million contract extension in November 2021. A team option in 2033 could make the deal worth $233 million when it’s over.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.