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Phillies P Noah Song cleared to join team for spring training after removal from Navy active duty

A 2023 Rule 5 pick, Song hasn't pitched since 2019 because of his Naval commitments

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Noah Song throws at their baseball spring training facility in Clearwater, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. The Phillies say pitching prospect Noah Song's transfer from active duty to Navy reserves freed him to report to the team. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Noah Song is able to join the team after he was transferred from active duty to the reserves by the Navy. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Noah Song now has the opportunity to be a part of the Philadelphia Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

The former Navy pitcher has been transferred from active duty to the reserves and is now free to join the Phillies in spring training. Song, 25, was unable to pitch professionally while on active duty.

A fourth-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Song was one of the best pitchers in college baseball in 2019. But he was unable to get a waiver to defer his service commitment and was called up to active duty after the 2019 minor league season.

Song was drafted by the Red Sox and lasted past the first three rounds of the draft because his near-term professional status was unclear. He pitched 17 innings for Boston’s lower Class A affiliate, the Lowell Spinners, in 2019 and remained part of the Red Sox organization while on active duty.

However, Song was left unprotected by the team ahead of the 2023 Rule 5 draft and the Phillies took a flier on him in the offseason.

Song’s chances of making the Major League roster

Song’s chances of breaking camp with the Phillies seem pretty small since he hasn’t pitched in a competitive game over the past three seasons. And thanks to MLB’s Rule 5 rules, Song must be a part of the Phillies’ big league roster if he’s going to remain with the team. That’s a tough ask for any Rule 5 pick, let alone one who hasn’t pitched in a while. The Phillies are the defending National League champions and have added veteran bullpen arms like Craig Kimbrel and Matt Strahm over the offseason.

Since he was a Rule 5 pick, Song was directly assigned to the Phillies’ MLB squad after he was picked by the team. If Philadelphia chooses not to keep him on the big league team at any point in 2023, he has to be placed on waivers. And if he clears waivers, the Phillies must offer the Red Sox a chance to acquire him back for $50,000. If he clears waivers and the Red Sox decline the opportunity for Song to rejoin the organization, the Phillies can assign him to a minor league affiliate.

But you can see why the Phillies took a chance on Song’s availability over the offseason and would hope to assign him to a minor league team if he doesn't make the MLB team. He boasted a fastball that could reach the high-90s at Navy and had a career 2.37 ERA in 334 career innings with the school. He struck out 428 batters across four seasons with the Midshipmen and gave up just 11 home runs. Song also had 19 strikeouts in his 17 innings for Lowell with the Red Sox in 2019.