Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll is one funny guy. Not only does he claim to have seen “one heck of a live show” from INXS (with or without the belt?) and refers to David Wells as “the media-savy lefty”, but he drops the following wisdom about the conditions of Rocco Baldelli and the Mets’ Brian Bannister.

Rocco Baldelli isn™t just a legend you read about in a Peter Gammons column a while ago. Baldelli is a real-life talented player–it™s just been a long time since he™s been healthy enough to show it. I always worry when a player who relies on his physical gifts gets injured. So many of them never learned how to work, and got by with poor fundamentals that the mere mortals couldn™t make a living with. Baldelli is starting his rehab assignment, and the Rays won™t rush him. Once Baldelli is ready, he™ll make a slow slide back to the outfield from DH, though he may go to right rather than center, with Jonny Gomes going to DH. All Baldelli has to do is prove that he can still play to belong on an increasingly talented Rays depth chart that includes Gomes, Carl Crawford, Delmon Young, and Elijah Dukes.

There are conflicting reports on the Mets™ Brian Bannister. The Mets insist that the setback their rookie pitcher had during his rehab start was only just that, a setback. Another source, one who was admittedly not at Bannister™s start in Norfolk, told me that Bannister aggravated the hamstring. It remains to be seen which it is, though early indications give my source, normally a very good one, some further credibility. Bannister is going to be held back for a couple weeks to allow the hamstring to heal. At best, Bannister is now looking at coming back sometime in early June, with a mid-June return more likely.

MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone had the distinct misfortune of listening to WFAN’s Joe Benigno-Gazingo yesterday, a program that featured the planet’s no. 1 NY Jets obsessive dissing Billy Wagner to telephone guest Paul Lo Duca. Mr. 2001 Odyssey proved to be a yack radio natural with the following zinger :

I really wouldn™t worry about him. And, you know, we can always get Braden Looper back if you need him.

In addition to nailing Peter Gammons for the Hall Of Fame journalist’s failure to hold A-Rod’s feet to the fire (“he not only was condescending to discerning Yankee fans and other realists, whom he cast in the role of ingrates, but his spiel was ludicrous to all who watched the Shea edition of the 2006 Subway Series.”), The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman couldn’t resist the following shot at the appetite of Tom Terrific.

It sure looked as if Tom Seaver was in a hurry to split the Mets’ Ch. 11 booth after a cameo Friday night. When Gary Cohen asked The Franchise to stay another half-inning, Seaver said he was headed for Manhattan. And a four-star dinner, perhaps?

The Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch, certainly above wishing the Yankees any ill-will, notes the “replacement orgy” taking place surrounding the Bombers’ roster.

The Yankees have been crushed by a recent wave of injuries, including those to Sheffield, Hideki Matsui, Shawn Chacon, Jorge Posada and Damon. For now, manager Joe Torre is customizing his lineup, while general manager Brian Cashman is going on a discount shopping spree for his Columbus roster.

When one Yankee veteran asked Monday afternoon, “Who’d we sign today?” the question was meant as half-joke, half-curiosity. The Yankee didn’t know how much the roster had morphed in the 24 hours after a 4-3 loss to the Mets on Sunday.

The answer said plenty about the Yankees’ fear of the Red Sox, not to mention their own vulnerability.

Why else would Cashman have loaded up on the declining Erubiel Durazo, Jason Romano and Richard Hidalgo in the last three days? Long, another journeyman, arrived on May 4 after being released by the Reds’ Class AAA affiliate. And Carlos Pena, a former rising star who worked his way down the ladder of success with the A’s and Tigers, has been at Class AAA Columbus for more than a month.

Torre concedes these “might seem like insignificant signings,” but the manager also points out that below-the-radar players such as Chacon, Wang and Aaron Small saved the Yankees in 2005. For that reason, Cashman now plays the waiver wire like a man trying to pay off his credit card by buying lottery tickets.