Rays’ Wander Franco’s administrative leave extended to July 14: Source

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco’s administrative leave has been extended through July 14 as part of a joint agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, a league source said Friday.

The agreement was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

Franco, 23, has not played since Aug. 12, 2023, when allegations surfaced about an inappropriate relationship with a minor. According to prosecutors, testimony from the girl and testimony from other members of her family, Franco paid the girl’s mother thousands of dollars in cash and other gifts in exchange for the mother’s consent to engage in a sexual relationship with her daughter.

Franco spent the final weeks of the 2023 season on administrative leave, which the league uses while a player is being investigated under MLB’s domestic violence policy. He was reinstated to the 40-man roster after the season ended.

At the start of the 2024 season, MLB and the MLBPA agreed to place Franco back on administrative leave through June 1. The procedural move allowed the Rays to remove the shortstop, who signed a $182 million extension in 2021, from the 40-man roster.



The latest on Wander Franco investigation

Franco could still be suspended under MLB’s domestic policy, with the outcome depending on the separate investigations conducted by the league and the Dominican authorities.

Franco has not formally been charged but remains under investigation in the Dominican Republic, his home country. Prosecutors have until July 5 to bring formal charges against Franco, though they’ll also have the option to request an extension of up to two months to conclude their investigation.

Once the prosecution formally presents its accusations, the presiding judge will proceed with a preliminary hearing, which in the Dominican Republic is a trial of the evidence. A judge would evaluate the evidence and determine whether the legal requirements for charges have been met. The judge may accept, reject or change the charges against both Franco and the mother of the minor. This would be the final step before the start of a trial.

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(Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck / USA Today)

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