Wander Franco Not Traveling With Team As MLB, Tampa Bay Rays Investigating Online Claims Against The Star Shortstop

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(UPDATE: Late Sunday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that Wander Franco is not traveling with the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa heads to San Francisco after losing to the Cleveland Guardians. Franco was out of Sunday’s lineup amid an investigation into claims circulating on social media against the star shortstop.)

The Tampa Bay Rays (71-49) and Major League Baseball are investigating a swell of social media claims made against star shortstop Wander Franco.

On Sunday, Rays manager Kevin Cash addressed Franco’s unexpected absence from the lineup against Cleveland.

Franco accompanied the Rays in the dugout Sunday until abruptly leaving in the fifth inning, as relayed by Fox Sports.

Cash claimed that Franco had a “day off” without going into detail.

Wander Franco celebrates after hitting a 2-run home run against Yankees. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Cash told reporters, “It was just a day off.” The Rays suffered a 9-2 loss at Tropicana Field. “I’m aware of the speculation. I’m not going to comment any further on that but the day off was because the day off.”

Tampa Bay followed with a statement, announcing that they are working with MLB on investigating the news around Franco.

Without confirming the online speculation, Tampa Bay announced that it is approaching the matter seriously.

“During today’s game, we were made aware of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco,” the Rays announced. “We take the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence.”

Rays reserve shortstop Osleivis Basabe stepped in place of Franco on Sunday. Franco had a rough day against the Guardians on Saturday: striking out on three of his five at-bats and recording one hit for the contest.

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Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan that has watched every movie.

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