The Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein reports a pair of Rick Tellander columns ended up on the in the trash last week when the latter’s editors at the Chicago Sun-Times decided to run interference for the universally loathed Jay Mariotti (above).

The conflict started after Mariotti wrote last week of Ozzie Guillen: “As you may have noticed through the years, I am the Blizzard’s only critic in the Chicago media, mostly because my soft colleagues either fear Guillen’s wrath, enjoy how he rips me, work for one of the Reinsdorf-controlled broadcast outlets or are afraid of getting on the chairman’s bad side.”

The next day, Sun-Times national baseball writer Chris De Luca led his column this way: “The same critics who avoid ever stepping into the White Sox’s clubhouse are calling the Chicago media soft for not skewering manager Ozzie Guillen. They want Guillen fired yesterday. Sounds tough, but the rhetoric comes up a little, well, soft.”

Telander also believed Mariotti had unfairly impugned his reputation and fired back in a Wednesday column that got spiked, according to media insiders. The paper explained to its readers in a box that Telander was taking the day off.

Telander filed an altered version for the Friday paper that, according to sources, mentioned the “bleatings” of “mini-dictators” who are “terrified of accountability.”

It also quoted Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski as saying no visitor to the team’s clubhouse need fear for his safety.

Editor-in-chief Michael Cooke, who declined comment Monday via e-mail, stepped in and decided the piece would not run.

“I’m a big boy and I can handle this,” Telander said. “The people I feel sorry for are the hard-working, talented journalists at the Sun-Times like Chris De Luca, Joe Cowley, Toni Ginnetti, Gordon Wittenmyer, Carol Slezak and Greg Couch.”