Jon Moscot, who left Major League Baseball because to an arm ailment two years ago, started Thursday’s opening game for Israel against South Korea at the Tokyo Olympics.
J. Moscot Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Moscot, a former Palisades High All-City pitcher, became a dual citizen in 2018 and subsequently played a key role in Israel becoming an Olympic participant for the first time in its history. However, today’s online edition of the L.A. Times reported:
On his tenth pitch of the first inning, Jon Moscot looked miserable. The native of Los Angeles came off the mount at Yokohama Baseball Stadium with an elbow injury just after throwing a test fastball to check his right arm.
Despite the early deficit, Team Israel twice took the lead before losing 6-5 in extra innings after pitcher Jeremy Bleich hit a batter with the bases loaded, scoring the winning run.
On Friday, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, Israel, will play the highest-ranked squad, the United States.
Moscot, a 6-4, 210-pound pitcher, graduated from PaliHi in 2009, played at Cuesta College and Pepperdine, and was taken in the fourth round by the Cincinnati Reds in 2012.
Moscot, then 23 years old, was called up to the Reds in 2015 after a successful stint as a pitcher in the minor leagues. His second start was a victory, but in his third he was injured after a collision on the base paths dislocated his left shoulder. As a result of surgery, his season was cancelled.
Tommy John surgery was required the following year when Moscot tore a ligament in his elbow. Having spent two years on the disabled list, he eventually retired and began working as a minor league pitching coach. He was 1-4 with 16 strikeouts in just 33 innings thrown in the Majors.
But he Still had a Chance to Play Professional Baseball.
In 2020, when baseball will once again be an Olympic event, Moscot, who is Jewish, will be able to become a dual Israeli citizen and be eligible to play for Team Israel (if his arm holds up, of course).
As the team stunned the baseball world by winning four consecutive tournaments in Europe and earning a spot in Tokyo, he threw well in multiple relief appearances.
Moscot told a reporter from the Jewish Forward a month ago that the discomfort in his arm had been there the whole time, but it had never become unbearable. Members of his team were texting him, “How are you pitching right now?” He would respond, “I don’t know. It was so bizarre that I figured God must have been watching out for me.
Moscot tweeted after Team Israel qualified for the Olympics, “We are Olympians!!!!! Wow, what a roller coaster ride this group is! Now we’re off to #Tokyo2020.
Moscot told the Forward, “I’m going to give everything I got one last time to go out there and leave it all on the field and win this thing for our team,” referring to the Summer Olympics, after working hard to stay in shape throughout the pandemic (by training on his own and while coaching in the minors, before joining Team Israel for pre-Olympic barnstorming games in the U.S.).
To be on a team that can go out and perhaps achieve big things is an honour in itself. This is a totally bizarre tale.
It was on Wednesday of this week that Moscot Tweeted, “Life is a wild trip.
I was forced to retire from baseball two and a half years ago because I couldn’t throw a baseball 60 feet. Thanks to my team of doctors, physiotherapists, coaches, family, friends, wife, and International Olympic Committee (IAB), I am honoured to take the first step toward my Olympic sprinting goals today.
He had high hopes for his Yokohama start, but it was cut short after just nine pitches.