The Tampa Bay Rays have confirmed their investigation into social media posts involving Wander Franco, the team’s shortstop. This confirmation was provided on Sunday.
During Sunday’s game against Cleveland, Franco was notably absent as the Rays suffered a 9-2 defeat.
In an official statement, the Rays acknowledged the circulating social media posts related to Wander Franco, stating, “During today’s game, we were made aware of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco. We take the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence.”
The specific content of the mentioned social media posts has not been disclosed by the Tampa Bay organization.
Instead of Franco, Osleivis Basabe made his major league debut as the starting shortstop for the game. Basabe performed commendably, achieving a 1 for 3 record along with a double. Interestingly, Basabe received the news of his promotion to the major league roster during his Saturday night game with Triple-A Durham.
At the commencement of Sunday’s game, Franco was initially situated in the Rays’ dugout but left during the fifth inning.
Coincidentally, the promotional event at Tropicana Field on Sunday featured the “Wander Franco Snapback Hat,” which was targeted at fans aged 14 and under.
When questioned about Franco’s absence from the game, Rays manager Kevin Cash clarified that it was a regular day off and no underlying issue prompted his absence.
Addressing the ongoing speculation, Cash stated, “I’m aware of the speculation, and I’m not going to comment any further on that. The day off was simply a regular day off.”
It’s worth noting that Franco had faced a two-game benching in late June due to concerns regarding his reactions to challenging situations and his behavior as a teammate.
Having secured a significant contract with the Tampa Bay Rays in November 2021, Franco’s 11-year, $182 million deal encompasses a team option for 2033, potentially reaching a total value of $223 million.
As an AL All-Star during this season, Franco’s performance has been notable, with a .281 batting average, 17 home runs, 58 RBIs, and a successful 30 out of 40 stolen base attempts in 112 games.