1 of 5 | Shortstop Wander Franco was held out the Tampa Bay Rays' 6-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 14 (UPI) -- MLB is looking into social media posts related to star shortstop Wander Franco, who was held out of a game against the Cleveland Guardians, the Tampa Bay Rays announced.
The Rays did not offer specifics about the social media content, but several posts surfaced over the weekend alleging that Franco was in an inappropriate relationship with a minor.
Franco went on Instagram Live on Sunday night and denied that he was "public with a little girl."
"During [Sunday's] game, we were made aware of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco," the Rays said in a statement.
"We take the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence."
Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters Sunday that he was "aware" of the situation, but said Franco was given a day off for rest purposes.
The 22-year-old shortstop played in 40-consecutive games for the Rays before Sunday, a night the team scheduled a Wander Franco snapback hat promotion for fans ages 14 and under.
"I am aware of this speculation," Cash said. "I'm not going to comment any further on that. The day off was because [it was] the day off."
Franco, a first-time All-Star in 2023, is hitting .281 with a career-high 17 home runs, 58 RBIs and 30 stolen bases this season. The former top prospect's last absence was June 23. Cash told reporters that Franco was benched at that time because of concerns about his ability to be the "best teammate."
The Rays signed Franco to an 11-year, $182 million contract extension in 2021. They are 71-49 this season and sit in second place in the American League East, three games behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles (73-45).
The Rays will play the San Francisco Giants (63-55) at 9:45 p.m. EDT Monday in San Francisco.