February 28, 2024

Evidence was delivered to a judge by Dominican prosecutors on Wednesday regarding allegations against Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco, who is accused of having a relationship with a minor. 

Franco has a hearing set with the judge on Friday at 8 a.m. local time, according to Spanish-language outlets. 

The judge will look over the evidence that has been put together by prosecutors over a monthslong span on Franco and issue a ruling on Friday in Puerto Plata, a northern province of the Dominican Republic. 

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Wander Franco #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Tropicana Field on August 12, 2023 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Dominican newspapers Diario Libre and Listin Diario report prosecutors filing papers to the court seeking “coercive measures” against Franco, which include a financial guarantee of 5 million pesos, working out to around $86,000 in dollars, not allowing him to leave the country, and periodic presentation. 

The papers also requested the mother of the minor who made the allegation to be put under house arrest. 

Franco remains detained at National Police headquarters in Puerto Plata since Monday afternoon, according to multiple reports. 

He was initially supposed to turn himself in this past Thursday. However, he never showed up. Franco arrived at the Puerto Plata prosecutor’s office on Monday along with his lawyers, where he was reportedly looking to obtain information regarding the investigation into his alleged relationship with a minor. 

RAYS’ WANDER FRANCO ARRESTED AMID INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED RELATIONSHIPS WITH MINORS: REPORTS

He was taken into custody after a three-hour interview with prosecutors, an official said on the condition of anonymity. 

On Dec. 26, police visited two properties of Franco’s located in Baní, his hometown, where he wasn’t present. Word was left with Franco’s wife that he should contact authorities.  

No details have come out from prosecutors regarding the investigation against Franco, though it said on Aug. 14 that they would be investigating the Rays All-Star due to social media posts suggesting he had a relationship with a minor. 

Wander Franco #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during batting practice prior to the 93rd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 in Seattle, Washington.  (Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Franco appeared to deny the allegations via Instagram Live, though he has not spoken publicly about the situation since then. 

MLB placed Franco on administrative leave shortly after under its joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy with the MLBPA. MLB is also conducting its own investigation on the matter, and there is no timetable for conclusion. 

Franco signed an 11-year, $182 million deal to be a Rays cornerstone piece on the team’s roster after rising through its ranks as one of the best prospects in MLB. 

Franco made the AL All-Star team this past July, his first nod in what many believed to be many in a budding star career. 

Wander Franco vs D'Backs

Jun 27, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

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Now, the baseball world awaits the judge’s decision and the investigations’ findings in Franco’s case.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.