Injuries to Yankees vets have put the quality of the Bombers’ younger set under greater scrutiny. Defending himself from charges of anti-Yankees bias, Baseball America’s Jim Callis spoke with the New York Daily News’ John Harper.

Callis, the point man for the rankings that have listed the Yankees as 17th, 24th, 27th, and 17th among baseball’s 30 franchises the last four years, insists he has no feeling one way or another about George Steinbrenner’s ballclub. He also notes the rankings are far from just his opinion, but what amounts to a consensus of opinions gathered from scouts, scouting directors, farm directors, minor-league managers, and so on.

Still, Callis is not shy about voicing his own opinion. He’s not sold that a few big moments from Melkey Cabrera and Andy Phillips, or the continued development of Robinson Cano and Chien-Mieng Wang, have proven that the Yankees’ farm system was underrated.

On Cabrera (above, left) : “He’s filled in nicely for them, but on a good team he’s more of a fourth outfielder. I don’t think he’s a good center fielder, and I don’t think he’ll hit with enough power as a corner outfielder. If he’s an everyday player for the Yankees in three or four years, I’ll be stunned.”

On Phillips: “He was a good college player. There are a lot of guys like that in Triple-A. He hit his way up the system, but he’s 29. Is he a regular? No.”

On Cano: “Yankee fans think I hate Cano. All I ever said about him is that he’s not a second baseman long-term because he’s got a big lower body. I don’t think he’s better than we thought he’d be. He’s just doing it sooner than we thought. But I think in three or four years, Cano will be in left field for the Yankees.”

On Chien-Ming Wang: “Usually guys who don’t strike out a lot of hitters tend to struggle. He’s done a little better than I thought. I thought he was a prospect, but he’s got some moxie. I think he could be a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy.”

On Eric Duncan, the Triple-A first baseman, regarded as perhaps the Yankees’ best positional prospect: “If Eric Duncan was a Minnesota Twin, I don’t think he’d get the hype he’s gotten.”

The Washington Times’ Dick Heller took a break yesterday from selling flowers on the highway to advocate the pairing of Barry Bonds and Peter Angelos next season. As employee/employer, not a civil union.

Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll on one high profile reliever just off the DL and a starter headed for the disabled list.

That didn™t take long. The long saga of Eric Gagne™s elbow gets another chapter after he was shut down Thursday. Gagne had an MRI after he saw œsignificant swelling in his elbow. The image showed inflammation around the ulnar nerve, which is a different nerve than the one removed earlier this year. The injury is potentially devastating and has many with the team shaking their heads, wondering how it could show up only after his major league re-emergence. I™ve had discussions with several pitching experts over the last few days about the mechanical differences between game and non-game situations. While the data shows that there are no significant differences, I think it™s the unmeasured game situations where the variables change. Gagne is shut down indefinitely as the team tries to assess the cause of the inflammation and the best possible treatment.

Rich Harden is headed back to the DL, now with elbow problems in his pitching arm. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that Harden had an MRI yesterday that showed a sprained ligament, likely the UCL. There’s no immediate information from the always cagey A’s on the severity, but this is definitely a blow. If Harden needs Tommy John surgery, well, you know that song and dance.

The just-activated Esteban Loiaza (above) collected his first win of the season earlier today, allowing scant more damage than a Ben Broussard solo HR in Oakland’s 4-1 defeat of Cleveland. Mark Kotsay had 3 hits and a run scored, and Huston Street collected his 11th save.