MLB News

Rays’ Wander Franco misses appearance with Dominican authorities as part of ongoing investigation, per report

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Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco has failed to appear in response to a summons issued by authorities in his native Dominican Republic, ESPN’s Juan Arturo Recio reports. The summons is related to an ongoing investigation by local authorities into Franco’s alleged inappropriate relationships with a series of minors, and the head of the investigative agency confirmed to Recio that Franco did not respond by the appointed deadline. 

As Recio writes, at least two persons have “filed legal action” against Franco, and he is alleged to have had a relationship with a third minor. Franco has yet to be charged criminally. The Associated Press has reported that Franco recently fired his legal representatives.

Franco has been on Major League Baseball’s Restricted List since August when allegations first surfaced and were confirmed by the office of the attorney general in the D.R. The move was made pursuant to those same investigations. 

“We support any steps taken by the league to better understand the situation,” the Rays said in an August statement released after Franco was placed on the Restricted List. “Out of respect for all parties involved, we have no further comments at this time.”

At this writing, the club has not made any comment about the latest reporting. 

Franco, 22, signed an 11-year extension with the Rays in November 2021. He was selected to his first All-Star Game this past season and batted .281/.344/.475 in 112 games prior to his being placed on the Restricted List. He did not appear in a game on Aug. 12.

Under the relevant joint policy, MLB has authority to discipline players for matters of sexual assault and domestic violence regardless of legal-system outcomes. It’s not yet known when the league will rule on Franco’s case. Franco is still being paid while on the Restricted List. 

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