Newsday’s wizard of ill will would prefer to dwell on the negative. From Jon Heyman in Sunday’s paper.

George Steinbrenner’s hit-and-run shot at Mel Stottlemyre in USA Today was unfair. Once Steinbrenner brings back Mel, he’s got to give him a chance. That said, Steinbrenner should have listened to his Tampa contingent, which wanted to hire Neil Allen as a pitching coach.

Rant of the Year goes to Michael Golden of Great Neck, who pointed out Jon Lieber, El Duque Hernandez, Jose Contreras, Javier Vazquez and Jeff Weaver were 19-6 elsewhere.

Teflon Torre knows he’s bullet proof with his $19.2-million contract. It’s OK to defend good buddy Stottlemyre. But what he can’t do is defend Stottlemyre with facts.

Because the fact is, Stottlemyre hasn’t been great the last few years.

The Yankees are apt to go get almost anyone who can help. But one player club execs swear they won’t trade for is the injury-prone Ken Griffey Jr. Unless Cincinnati will take Jason Giambi, of course. Which they won’t. No one’s ever been less valuable relative to his contract than Giambi.

The incomparable Roger Clemens is the Yankees’ obvious midsummer target. But friends say Clemens won’t go to Boston under any circumstances.

Which only makes Steinbrenner like him more.

Reader Bob Buscavage of Moriches e-mails that he’d take Clemens back on two conditions: 1) he returns his retirement gifts, and 2) he brings Andy Pettitte with him.

Something tells me Clemens would take that deal, too.