Noah Song's rehab clock officially starts, decision time looming for the Phillies

Noah Song's fascinating journey in professional baseball has added a new chapter, as he is officially beginning a minor league rehab stint.
Philadelphia Phillies Photo Day
Philadelphia Phillies Photo Day / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

In case you are not familiar with the Noah Song situation on the Philadelphia Phillies, here's a quick refresher on who he is and what makes him a name you need to know:

Song, a right-handed pitcher, was drafted by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft from the United States Naval Academy. He made a seven-outing cameo in the low minors that year and domainted; posting a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings of work. This saw him rise up to the No. 6 prospect in the Red Sox system heading into 2020 with his value skyrocketing.

COVID rearing its ugly head and cancelling the 2020 minor league season did not affect Song in any way, as he had chosen to pursue his military obligations at the conclusion of the 2019 season. He remained out of baseball all the way through December of 2022, when the Phillies made the stunning decision to select him from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 Draft.

Rule 5 picks must remain on the claiming team's active roster all year long. If the claiming team, in this case the Phillies, no longer wishes to keep him on their roster, they must send him back to the Red Sox. At the time of his selection, many around the industry were shocked to see such a move. Why in the world would the Phillies select a player who had not pitched a single inning in nearly four years?

Conveniently, the right-hander was shut down early on in Spring Training with "groin tightness" and had yet to make an appearance of any sort with the club ... until Wednesday night. Beginning his 30-day rehab in the minors, Song, at long last, took the mound for the A-Ball Clearwater Threshers, striking out a batter while not allowing a runner to reach base.

The Phillies' move to stash the 26-year-old on the injured list for so long this season has left a sour taste in many fans' mouths, but the plan appears to be for the club to allow him the full 30 days to rehab in the minor leagues and make a decision from there. Once the time is up, they must either add him to their big league roster or send him back to Boston, where he can continue to develop in the minor leagues instead of being thrown straight on to a big league mound.

Song's 17-inning stint back in 2019 was highly encouraging, but the fact is that his arm does not have enough experience in it in professional baseball to jump straight up to the big leagues. The most likely outcome here feels like he will be back in Boston in short order, as the Phillies just can't afford to place him on their active roster and expect him to dominate major league hitters.