The Tampa Bay Rays released a statement regarding shortstop Wander Franco and allegations made against him on social media on Sunday. The Rays said they were “made aware” of social media posts about Franco on Sunday and Major League Baseball is conducting “its due diligence” about the matter.
“During today’s game, we were made aware of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco,” the Rays said in their statement. “We take the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence.”
Rays manager Kevin Cash addressed the speculation following Tampa Bay’s loss to the Guardians on Sunday. At the time, Cash said he was aware of the speculation but offered no comment. He did add that Franco’s absence from the lineup on Sunday was because of a scheduled day off, and was not reflective of anything else going on with him.
Instead of Franco getting the nod at shortstop, the Rays deployed debuting infielder Osleivis Basabe. The Rays had only recalled Basabe prior to the game, demoting lefty Josh Fleming in the process.
Franco, 22, signed an 11-year extension with the Rays in November 2021. He was selected to his first All-Star Game this season and is hitting .281/.344/.475 in 112 games.
Franco was not in the lineup Sunday despite a Wander Franco Snapback Hat giveaway for kids 14 and under. The Rays called up top prospect Osleivis Basabe, one of their top prospects, from Triple-A Durham to start in his place.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said before the game the decision to sit Franco was to “get him off his feet.” Asked after the game if anything more went into the decision, Cash said, “no, just a day off.”
When a follow-up question referenced “speculation” on social media, Cash acknowledged he was aware of it.
The shortstop signed an 11-year, $182 million extension with the Rays in November 2021.
Tampa Bay is set to take on the San Francisco Giants at 9:45 p.m. ET on Monday. It remains to be seen if Franco will be in the lineup for the series opener on the road.
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