The Tampa Bay Rays confirmed Sunday that Major League Baseball is investigating social media posts that accuse Rays shortstop Wander Franco of having an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl
Franco, 22, did not play in Tampa Bay's 9-2 home loss to the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday afternoon
"During today's game, we were made aware of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco," the team said in a statement two hours after the game. "We take the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence.
The Spanish-language social media posts were made Saturday night and went viral Sunday. Franco was given Sunday's game off despite a scheduled Wander Franco hat giveaway for fans aged 14 and under
According to reports, Franco began the game in the dugout but left during the fifth inning
Rays manager Kevin Cash later told reporters that Franco was given a "day off," but acknowledged that he knew about the discussion brewing on social media
"I am aware of this speculation," Cash said. "I'm not going to comment any further on that. But the day off was because (of) the day off.
The Rays handed Franco a $182 million, 11-year contract in November 2021, with a team option for 2033 that could make the deal worth up to $223 million
Franco made his first All-Star Game this year and has had a strong season on the field. He is batting .281 with 17 home runs, 58 RBIs and 30 stolen bases over 112 games for a team in line to make the postseason
The Rays also chose to bench Franco for two games in July in response to his behavior around his teammates and how he would deal with frustration
--Field Level Medi