Phillies' Noah Song released from Navy active duty, reports to spring training

Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Noah Song was released from active duty in the U.S. Navy and reported to spring training in Clearwater, Fla., the team announced Thursday.

Navy's baseball team also wished Song "good luck" in a tweet Thursday morning. Song recently transferred from active duty to selective reserves, which cleared the path for his arrival in Clearwater.


At the Naval Academy, he posted a 2.37 ERA in 58 games, with 428 strikeouts in 334⅓ innings.

The Phillies selected Song in December in the Rule 5 MLB Draft. He last pitched competitively in 2019. The Boston Red Sox selected the 6-foot-4, right-handed pitcher in the fourth-round of the 2019 MLB Draft.

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Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters Thursday that the move is "a gamble," due to Song's three-year hiatus from baseball.

"He hasn't pitched in three years," Dombrowski told reporters. "We knew when we drafted him that it was a long shot.

"He played catch, when he could, throughout the time period. ... He started playing long toss and was off the mound for the first time last week. He said it felt like he hadn't been on the mound for three years. The reality is that it's a gamble."


Song, 25, went 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA in 14 starts for Navy in 2019. He went on to log a 1.06 ERA in seven starts in 2019 for the Lowell Spinners, a short-season Class A affiliate of the Red Sox.

He went 32-13 with a 2.37 ERA in 58 appearances over his four seasons at Navy.

If Song makes the Phillies' 26-man roster, he must remain there for the entire season to stay with the team. He can be traded or placed on waivers if he doesn't make the spring training cut. Song could be returned to the Red Sox and the minor leagues if he clears waivers.

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Because he attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in 2019, Song initially was required to serve five years in the Navy.

That year, Song told the Capital Gazette that the Department of Defense denied a waiver for him to forgo military service so he could play baseball. He was the Red Sox's No. 19 prospect at that time.

Dombrowski said Thursday that Song petitioned about a year ago to transfer to the reserves and was told it could take nine to 12 months for that to occur. He also the Navy made "no promises" that he would be cleared for the reserves.


The Phillies received word last week that Song would be given his transfer papers. Team representatives said they do not know specifics about Song's obligations in the reserves.

The Phillies will face the Detroit Tigers in their spring training opener at 1:05 p.m. EST Saturday at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla.

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