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Former Navy pitcher Noah Song designated for assignment by Philadelphia Phillies

Noah Song (Navy Athletics/Facebook)

Noah Song’s monthlong audition was not good enough to earn a roster spot with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies announced Saturday that Song has been designated for assignment, the latest twist in the Naval Academy graduate’s bid to reach the big leagues. The Phillies have four days to trade the 26-year-old right-hander before having to place him on irrevocable waivers.

If Song clears waivers, he must be offered back to the Boston Red Sox for $25,000. Philadelphia selected the 2019 Naval Academy graduate out of Boston’s minor league system via the Rule 5 draft last December.

Per Rule 5 restrictions, the Phillies were required to keep Song on the active roster for at least 90 days. However, Song’s performance during a 30-day rehabilitation assignment did not warrant using a valuable roster spot for a team currently in second place in the National League East.

Song reported to Philadelphia’s spring training complex in Clearwater, Florida, shortly after the Navy granted his request for a transfer from active duty to the reserves. He had not pitched in a professional game since Aug. 29, 2019, with Class A Lowell, Boston’s affiliate in the short-season New York-Penn League.

Song went 1-0 with a 7.36 earned run average in eight games with three of Philadelphia’s minor league teams while on the major league injured list with a lower-back strain. Song’s 30-day rehab assignment ended Friday, forcing the Phillies to add him to the active roster or expose him to waivers.

“We watched [Song] right until the very end. We just felt at this point it would be very difficult for us to, trying to get into the postseason, to carry him at the back end as the 13th pitcher on our roster,” Philadelphia president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “We just thought that would be difficult to do and force our hands a little more … the manager in that case. We felt that spot is going to be valuable going down the stretch.”

Song was ineffective in his final three outings while on rehab — one at Double-A Reading and two at Triple-A Lehigh Valley — allowing eight runs and 12 base runners over five innings.

“We kept pulling for Noah. He had one outing in Clearwater that he was throwing in the mid-90s and we were very encouraged,” Dombrowski said. “But the last couple of outings weren’t quite the same. The last outing, with the Triple-A club, was not good. There was that scenario which we were kind of hoping for right until the very end, but we just thought it would be very difficult to do.”

Dombrowski was the general manager for the Boston Red Sox when that organization selected Song in the fourth round of the MLB draft. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder was coming off a dominant senior season at Navy in which he posted an 11-1 record with a 1.44 ERA with 161 strikeouts in 94 innings to earn Patriot League Pitcher of the Year honors.

Song was impressive during a short stint with Lowell, posting a 1.06 ERA, allowing just two runs and notching 19 strikeouts in 17 innings over seven starts. However, he was then ordered by the U.S. Navy to report to flight school at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Song completed primary aviation training in April 2022 and immediately applied for a waiver that would enable him to pursue professional baseball. After earning his wings of gold, Song was assigned to Naval Air Station Jacksonville as a flight officer as part of the Fleet Replacement Squadron of the P-8A Poseidon.

Philadelphia spent $50,000 to select Song in the Rule 5 Draft then immediately placed him on the military list while he was on active duty. Phillies manager Rob Thomson told beat reporters that no member of the major league coaching staff saw Song during the rehab assignment.

“We trust the people who have seen him and if they think it can work then we try to make it work. There just wasn’t enough there,” Thomson said.

Any major league organization that claims Song off waivers must abide by the Rule 5 restrictions and keep him on the active roster for the remainder of this season and the first month of the 2024 season.


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