CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies say Noah Song’s transfer from active duty to the Navy reserves frees up the pitching prospect to report to camp with the team on Thursday.
Song, a 25-year-old aviator from California, was taken by the Phillies in the winter meeting draft in December with hopes he would play after military service.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-hander was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continued active duty.
The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round — he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.
Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.
In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at military academies to delay service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those rules retroactively applied to him was denied.
Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training the next month.
Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the winter meeting draft. Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.
This story was corrected to reflect Song transferred service from active duty to selective reserves, instead of being discharged from Navy,
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