Noah Song arrives at Phillies after Navy grants transfer to reserves

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CLEARWATER, Fla. — Noah Song threw and performed agility drills on on a back outfield wearing Philadelphia Phillies shorts and T-shirt, a far different different uniform for the 25-year old.

Song had been a flight officer training on a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft before transferring from active duty to reserves.

“I think really the most important thing is just recognizing the fact that I really enjoy both,” Song said Thursday while sitting on top of a picnic table just beyond the left-field fence at Phillies spring training camp. “If there’s nothing else to do other than the military, this is where I want to be. I’m feel really blessed and really lucky that I haven’t had to do anything that I don’t want to do yet.”

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, striking out 19 in 17 innings with a 1.06 ERA. With a fastball in the upper 90s mph, he went 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings during his senior year at Navy.

Song, who is from California, was taken by the Phillies from Boston in the winter meeting draft for unprotected minor league players in December with hopes he would play after military service.

“We feel it’s worth the gamble,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “We felt it was worth the upside risk. Will be able to do it? We’ll see.”

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-hander said his aspiration to reach the major leagues looked further and further from reality during the past few years. Then, the transfer request made around nine months earlier was approved.

“I don’t think a lot of people could have expected it,” Song said. “But I’m here now. I don’t really necessarily know what my future or ceiling might be. Just trying to figure out what it is, what the new one is.”

Song last week had his bullpen session since 2019 last week. He played catch when he could on open spaces at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

“It felt rough,” Song said. “Felt like I kind of trying to walk again. I was kind of learning things.”

Song was selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2019 amateur draft when Dombrowski headed Boston’s baseball operations. Without the military committment, Dombrowski thinks Song might have been a first-round pick.

Should he make the 26-man active roster, Song would work out of the bullpen. Dombrowski would not be surprised if Song appeared in spring training games.

Philadelphia must keep Song on the big league roster all season. To remove him from the rosyer, the Phillies would have to offer him back to the Red Sox.

“However, there’s a combination of rules here, too, because there’s not only Rule 5 pick, there’s the military list rule that gets involved,” Dombrowski said. “Some of these rules were written before I was born. Nobody wants to see this kid get hurt.”

Dombrowski said the rules were the same when Chicago Cubs left-hander Ken Holtzman received a pass from his military duty in 1967, allowing him to make four starts that August and September- all wins.

Song said his remaining military obligations are 12 years in the reserves, and one weekend and two-week stint a year. The lieutenant junior grade originally had been scheduled to make his first overseas deployment last month to Japan.

US routs Cuba 14-2 to reach World Baseball Classic final

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MIAMI (AP) — Trea Turner and Paul Goldschmidt and an unrelenting U.S. lineup kept putting crooked numbers on the scoreboard, a dynamic display of the huge gap between an American team of major leaguers and Cubans struggling on the world stage as top players have left the island nation.

Turner homered twice to give him a tournament-leading four, driving in four runs to lead the U.S. to a 14-2 rout Sunday night and advance the defending champion Americans to the World Baseball Classic final.

Goldschmidt also homered and had four RBIs and Cedric Mullins went deep in a game interrupted three times by fans running on the field to display protest signs.

“The team kind of represents the government over there, and people aren’t too happy about it,” U.S. manager Mark DeRosa said.

The U.S. plays Japan or Mexico in Tuesday night’s championship, trying to join the Samurai Warriors as the only nations to win the title twice.

“I think it took us a little bit of time, but now we kind of found our stride a little bit,” Turner said.

Turner has a tournament-leading 10 RBIs. He followed his go-ahead, eighth-inning grand slam a night earlier against Venezuela with a solo homer in the second inning off Roenis Elias (0-1) and a three-run drive in the sixth against Elian Leyva.

“I kept saying every time he went deep, who is the idiot that’s hitting him ninth?” DeRosa said.

Cuba went ahead when its first four batters reached off Adam Wainwright (2-0) without getting a ball out of the infield. The 41-year-old right-hander recovered to strand the bases loaded.

“I put myself in that situation in the first place by making horrible PFP plays — or not making PFP plays,” Wainwright said in a reference to pitchers’ fielding practice.

American batters had 14 hits, including eight for extra bases, and seven walks. Goldschmidt hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the first on a 112 mph rocket high over the left-field wall. He added a two-run single in the fifth.

“For me that was one of my favorite home runs I’ve ever hit in my entire life,” Goldschmidt said.

St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado left after he was hit on a hand by a pitch in the fifth inning, briefly raising another injury concern before X-rays came back as negative. Mets closer Edwin Díaz sustained a season-ending knee injury during the celebration that followed Puerto Rico’s win on Wednesday and Houston second baseman Jose Altuve broke a thumb when hit by a pitch while playing for Venezuela on Saturday.

Fans in the sellout crowd of 35,779 at loanDepot Park sounded evenly split between the U.S. and Cuba. Several hundred people gathered before the game outside the ballpark in Miami’s Little Havana section to protest the presence of the Cuban team, whose island nation has been under communist rule since 1959.

Play was briefly interrupted in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings when fans ran onto the field. The first held a banner that read “Libertad Para Los Presos Cubanos del 11 de Julio (Freedom for the Cuban Prisoners of July 11)” referring to the date of 2021 demonstrations.

“There were provocations, but we never paid attention to it,” Cuba manager Armando Johnson said.

Cuban fans roared in the early going when their team’s first four batters strung together three infield hits and a bases-loaded walk. Wainwright allowed one run and five hits in four innings. Cardinals teammate Miles Mikolas followed with four innings and Aaron Loup finished.

An Olympic gold medalist in 1992, 1996 and 2004, Cuba’s national team has struggled in recent years as many top players left for MLB. Cuba failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Cuba for the first time this year is using some players under contract to MLB clubs, including Chicago White Sox Gold Glove centerfielder Luis Robert and third baseman Yoán Moncada — who were booed. But many Cuban big leaguers were absent.

“We would like for the other players to join,” Johnson said. “They should think about it and return to Cuba.”


DeRosa on what he did after Saturday night’s come-from-behind quarterfinal win over Venezuela.

“I was reading how horrible a manager I was on social media first,” he said.


In the other semifinal, Japan starts 21-year-old sensation Roki Sasaki against Mexico and the Los Angeles Angels’ Patrick Sandoval on Monday night.


Moncada left after the third baseman collided in the sixth inning with left fielder Roel Santos, who caught Kyle Schwarber’s fly. Moncada was hit on the ribs but is OK, Johnson said.


Arizona RHP Merrill Kelly is likely to start the final.