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Wiretap: Pick up Headley while you can
06/19/2008 10:08 AM ET
Yesterday at lunch, a friend of mine asked me if I had seen the Hulk.

I said I had not.

He said that he had.

Mildly taken aback, I asked if Hulk looked depressed, angry or perhaps even melancholy.

My friend did not anticipate this question. He gave me a wry look and said that the Hulk looked gigantic, "incredible" and predictably green.

I then realized that we were talking about two completely different Hulks.

Call it a coincidence. Call it unfortunate. Or don't call it anything.

But at a time when "The Incredible Hulk" is on top of the world, ranking No. 1 at the box office with more than $55 million in ticket sales already, the gigantic, incredible and teary-eyed Hulk Hogan was left dealing with Larry King (not "Mean" Gene Okerlund), answering questions about his ex-wife and other deep personal issues involving his family (not if he had trained, said his prayers or eaten his vitamins).

Never before has the Hulkster seemed so mortal.

It was only five years ago when the tables were reversed, with the Marvel superhero sputtering on the big screen with the ill-fated release of "Hulk" as Hulkamania made one final, glorious run in the squared circle, big-booting and atomic-leg-dropping Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XIX with the ever-familiar "Real American" music blaring in the background.

But that's how quickly things can change, both in real life and in fantasy. One day you're in first place sizing up that championship belt, and the next day, you're in last, down for the count.

So make sure to keep your fantasy mind sharp. Don't forget to train. Say your prayers. Eat your vitamins.

Read your Wiretap.

The Musts

Chase Headley, 3B, Padres: We're only one-seventh of a fortnight in, and I couldn't be happier with how the Chase Headley era is going in San Diego. The team's top prospect already looks like he belongs, cracking three hits -- including a homer -- in just eight at-bats. But more importantly, I've finally been able to unleash my inner Stuart McKenzie from "So I Married an Axe Murderer," unabashedly yelling "HEED! BASE HIT! NOW!" every time Headley walks to the plate. I swear that's actually funny if you've seen the movie. Anyway, Headley (.305-13-40 for Triple-A Portland) is up and looks to be here to stay, so act fast, or you'll be left crying yourself to sleep on your huuuuuge pillow.

Mike Gonzalez, RP, Braves: Braves closers have been disappearing faster than Spinal Tap drummers. First we started with Rafael Soriano, then Peter Moylan made a cameo, some dude named Blaine Boyer even saw some action, Manny Acosta flirted with the role, I think Soriano might have returned at some point but don't quote me on that ... and oh yeah, even John Smoltz said the job would be his at one point, but currently, it looks like the ninth inning belongs to Mike Gonzalez ... for now. Anyway, saves are saves, and people love them, so give Gonzo -- who notched his first on Wednesday -- a whirl before his arm falls off and the Braves go searching for Mark Wohlers' number.

The Shoulds

Marcus Thames, OF, Tigers: I'm doing my best not to jinx the Tigers (8 of 9, yesssir!) but Marcus Thames can no longer be ignored. Sure, he's batting only .250 (11-for-44) for June, but each his last eight hits have been homers. Read that again. It's such an amazing feat that I don't think I have a worthwhile analogy. Wait, yeah I do. It'd be like going on "Jeopardy!" and stumbling over easy questions in dumb categories like "Potent Potables" or "Potpourri," only to crush Daily Double after Daily Double in impossible categories like "Underrated Ugandan Giants Not Named Kamala" and "Ex-boyfriends Alanis Morissette Doesn't Hate." ANYWAY, Thames is no flash in the pan, having clapped 26 homers in 2006, and he's clearly at it again. So pick him up.

Luke Scott, OF, Orioles: I swear I wasn't going to do it. Nope, not gonna happen. I wouldn't even dare. Besides, no one says that expression anymore, and I don't even know what it really means (wait for it .... wait for it ... WAIT for it ...) GREAT SCOTT (oh boy)! Have you seen how Luke Scott is destroying the ball lately? The soon-to-be 30-year-old has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, batting a fantastical .387 with five long balls along the way. The 29-year-old outfielder is clearly in the groove and showing the type of power that propelled him to 18 jacks in just 369 at-bats last year. So, yeah, pick him up.

The Coulds

Barry Zito, SP, Giants: Just kidding.

Jo-Jo Reyes, SP, Braves: Way back in the Season 2 premier of Wiretap, I tomfoolerishly stated that Ryan Rowland-Smith (who?) is the "second-most relevant baseball player with a hyphen in his name, behind Chien-Ming Wang." How dare I. Jo-Jo Reyes has been absolutely lights-out in the A-T-L lately, having tossed four quality starts in his last five tries, including a seven-inning, one-run gem against the Rangers his last time out. He's clearly the top active hyphenated big leaguer with Chien-Ming Wang on the shelf, and is neck and neck with the insanely creepy Jo-Jo from the "The Real World: Hollywood" as the most culturally relevant dude to be named Jo-Jo since Lennon and McCartney released "Get Back" in 1969.

Mike Aviles, SS, Royals: Up until a week ago, I'd never heard of the guy. I still probably couldn't even recognize him if he walked out of the batter's box, jumped through my TV and bit me in the nose, and I'll probably forget about him in two weeks once he's sent back down to Triple-A. But for the time being, Mike Aviles is worth getting acquainted with. The 27-year-old shortstop has enjoyed his stay in KC so far, batting .326 (15-for-46) with three homers, two doubles and five RBIs over his last six games. So any AL-only leaguers looking for a new infielder should scoop him up.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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