Authorities in the Dominican Republic are searching for Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco but have not yet located him, according to Spanish-language reports.
The Santo Domingo Prosecutor’s Office for Children and Adolescents sent police officers to the home of Franco’s mother on Tuesday, according to the Dominican newspaper Listin Diario, then they went to Franco’s nearby residence in his hometown of Bani .
“They went to raid two properties that Wander Franco owns there, but they were not executed because he was not in any of those places,” a Dominican agent told the Associated Press. The person requested anonymity due to the ongoing investigation.
The agent said people at the residences were informed that Franco was wanted for questioning at the prosecutor’s office.
Franco, 22, was placed on administrative leave in August, when allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a minor first surfaced. Franco, who made the American League All-Star team for the first time in 2023, denied the allegations.
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Franco was enjoying his best season as a major leaguer, hitting .281 with 17 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 112 games when the allegations surfaced. He played his last game on August 12, and the Rays placed him on the restricted list two days later.
“It’s a very delicate subject because there is a minor involved,” Angel Dario Tejada Fabal, prosecutor of Peravaia, a province in the Dominican Republic, told the Associated Press in August. Minors under 18 are prohibited in the Dominican Republic, whether the minor gives consent or not.
MLB is also conducting its own investigation.
The Rays signed Franco to an 11-year contract worth $182 million in November 2021. The team placed him back on the 40-man roster last month because administrative leave only applies during the regular season. He will continue to be paid and accrue service time while away from the team.
Contributor: Associated Press
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