Moscot gets up early to root for Israel in Classic

Reds hurler, recovering from Tommy John, traveled with team on goodwill trip

March 6th, 2017

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was 2:30 a.m. MT in Arizona on Monday and Reds pitcher had to be up in four hours to work out and continue his rehab from Tommy John elbow surgery. But Moscot was up in the wee hours to watch a few innings as Team Israel played Korea in the first game of the World Baseball Classic in Seoul, South Korea.

"This is some dedication, right here," Moscot joked as the game played on television at his rented house. "We're locked into Team Israel baseball right now. They've got to give us a 'W.' We're doing our part over here so we need them to do their part over there."

First pitch in South Korea was at 6:30 p.m. local time.

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

"Oh, wow, it must have taken them a while to get adjusted," Moscot marveled as his seven-month-old golden retriever puppy, Mickey, laid at his feet.

Moscot, 25, would be playing in the tournament, but he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow that required surgery in July. As he watched on TV, he saw things not normally seen at an American game.

"Look at that. Cheerleaders, whistleblowers," Moscot said as he watched the enthusiastic Korean crowd.

Moscot wanted to be part of the atmosphere at the Gocheok Sky Dome.

"I wish I was there, even in the dugout if I couldn't play," he said. "I'd love to be in South Korea right now. Even more so, I think I could have really helped this team out on the mound."

In January, Moscot did join some teammates on a goodwill trip to Israel. A native of Southern California, Moscot has an uncle and cousins who live in Israel.

Part of the mission was to introduce Israelis to baseball -- especially kids -- and break ground on the country's first legitimate baseball facility. During the trip, Moscot spent a lot of time with his teammates and formed friendships, including with guys who have Major League experience like , and Ike Davis.

"Everyone on this team that I went to Israel with, and even some other guys I know and played with in the past, [are] great people," Moscot said. "I just want to see them win. For such a small country, people don't associate baseball with Israel. I think it's cool. It's a good experience for the country and the guys over there."

Israel scored the tournament's first run in the top of the second inning. With a runner on first base, Zach Bornstein hit a double, sending Nate Freiman to third base. Freiman wound up scoring the game's first run in an eventual 2-1 Israel win in 10 innings.

"Ooooh. I faced [Bornstein] in Double-A," Moscot said. "He was with the D-backs in Mobile. He hacks."

With the bases loaded and one out, Tyler Krieger walked with the bases loaded to force in a run. Korea escaped the jam without further damage.

"All right, we got a run," Moscot said with a hopeful tone.

The starting pitcher for Israel in the opener was , who has 15 years of big league experience that included briefly playing for the Reds in 2015.

"Still doing it at 38," Moscot said of Marquis. "It's a weird circle. I got called up [to replace] him. Good dude. In camp is where I got to know him a little bit. He took me and Disco [] under his wing. He had a lot to teach."

In the bottom of the third inning, Marquis struck out Ah-seop Son.

"That was nasty, a splitter?" Moscot said.

Moscot, who had both his 2015 and '16 seasons cut short by injuries, hopes to be back on a mound in games before the end of this season. He's still in the long grind of rehab, however, but has been able to long toss from 90 feet and will soon move to 105 feet.

"I've got a full day tomorrow -- rehab, throw, lift -- the whole deal," Moscot said. "Throwing is going well. I'm happy with where I'm at right now. Ball is coming out clean. I'm pain-free. The road to recovery is in full effect.

"It's tough. I would love more than anything to be playing in this. But the important thing is to be able to play a full season. I haven't been able to do that yet. I want to get healthy and do that. I see the guys at the Reds' facility and playing the games and deep down, it hurts a little bit. But I will be back."