Rule 5 pick Noah Song thought he caught a break when the Navy allowed him to defer his service and head for Phillies camp in Clearwater. The right-hander hit another snag when the Phillies announced today that he would be shut down with back tightness and will open the season on the injured list.

If Song can recover from the injury, being on the IL to start the season might not be the worst thing. As a Rule 5 pick, the Phillies would need to keep him on the roster all season. One potential loophole in the Rule 5 system is that if a player is injured they only have to be active for 90 days during the season. If they do not reach that qualification, they must be offered back to their original team, which in this case is the Boston Red Sox. The Phillies can work with Song in Clearwater once he is healthy and then send him on a rehab assignment to get some work in the minors before taking him off the IL.

The added minor league work could be helpful because the 25-year-old has not pitched regularly since making his professional debut with the Lowell Spinners (Low-A) back in 2019. After pitching for Navy where he posted a 32-13 record with a 2.37 ERA in 54 starts and four relief appearances, Song was obligated to serve his time on active duty. Prior to this season, the Navy had declined to allow a special dispensation that would allow Song to pursue a major league career and defer his service obligation.

The Phillies have shut down top prospect Andrew Painter and Ranger Suarez returned from Team Venezuela in the WBC with a sore back. Painter will not be ready to open the season, but the Phillies are hopeful that Suarez will be with the team when they break camp.

The early reports on Song were that he looked “comfortable” in his bullpen sessions in Clearwater prior to the back issue.