UPDATE: It appears Noah Song may have a shot at playing for the Red Sox while serving in the Navy after all.
Red Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett sent an encouraging update to MassLive.com on Tuesday:
“We were aware of and understand the lack of endorsement from the Naval Academy and the Chief of Naval Operations as this request moved up the chain of command," Crockett wrote.
"He has not yet received a response from the Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Defense. Until we hear something definitive from them, both the Red Sox and Noah will remain hopeful that he gets a chance to play for the Red Sox AND serve. If Noah has to serve two years, we will fully support him. His service is important to the team, too. But as of right now, we still believe the opportunity is there for him to play right away and still get the chance to serve his country.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Noah Song's promising baseball career has come to a temporary halt.
The U.S. Navy has denied Boston Red Sox right-hander's waiver request to delay his service time so he can play professional baseball, Song told Bill Wagner of the Capital Gazette on Monday night.
The Navy's ruling means Song will report to the Navy's two-year flight training program in early 2020, after which he can submit another waiver to resume his baseball career.
The Red Sox were aware of Song's situation when they selected him with the 137th overall pick (fourth round) in the 2019 MLB Draft.
President Donald Trump recently pushed through a Nov. 8 ruling that allows athletes from the service academies to play professional sports if the Department of Defense approves their waiver requests to delay service time.
Song was hopeful that ruling could be applied to his case, but Chief of Naval Operations Michael Gilday denied his waiver request.
"Unfortunately, my request was negatively endorsed by the Naval Academy due to the fact this new policy did not apply to me,” Song told Wagner. "The Naval Academy did not provide a positive recommendation to the (Chief Naval Officer) and therefore the request was denied. So that’s the end of that route."
Song enjoyed a stellar stint with the Class-A Short Season Lowell Spinners this summer, posting a 1.06 ERA (two earned runs in 17 innings) with 19 strikeouts and five walks.
The 22-year-old will remain property of the Red Sox while he's at flight school, but won't be able to return to the diamond until 2022 at the earliest.
That's a tough break for Boston, which already saw fellow 2019 draft pick Feleipe Franks opt to pursue a career in the NFL instead of playing baseball.
UPDATE (2 p.m. ET): Apparently the door isn't completely shut on Song's waiver request, according to The Boston Globe's Alex Speier.
Update on this: My understanding is that the process is still ongoing, subject to review of the Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Defense to determine whether Song’s petition should be folded into the new policy covering Academy grads in the class of 2020. More to come... https://t.co/ZXoWag6hDs— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) December 17, 2019