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Tampa Bay Rays' Wander Franco looks on during a game in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Aug. 13, 2023.Chris O'Meara/The Associated Press

Tampa Bay All-Star shortstop Wander Franco was placed on administrative leave through June 1 under an agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ association while the investigation continues in an alleged relationship with a minor.

Administrative leave is not disciplinary under the sport’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy, and a player continues to be paid. Franco, who has a US$2-million salary this year, has remained in his native Dominican Republic while authorities there investigate and did not report to spring training.

Franco, 23, has not played since Aug. 12. He was placed on the restricted list for a week on Aug. 14 while MLB launched an investigation following social-media posts suggesting Franco was in a relationship with a minor. The AP has not been able to verify the reported posts.

Franco was moved to administrative leave on Aug. 22 and remained there through the end of the season. There is no leave during the off-season.

MLB is likely to wait until the Dominican investigation is concluded before deciding whether there will be any discipline.

Originally accused of commercial and sexual exploitation and money laundering – charges that carry up to 30 years, 10 years and 20 years of prison respectively – Franco stands accused instead of sexual and psychological abuse, according to a judge’s resolution that the Associated Press obtained in January.

Franco had not been formally accused, but if found guilty on the new charge, he could face between two to five years in prison.

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