Cubs fire back at Silva

MESA, Ariz. – A day after Carlos Silva fired on the Cubs, the Cubs fired back – and fired him.

Silva, who ripped the Cubs’ front office and pitching coach Saturday when he didn’t make the opening roster, was unconditionally released Sunday morning as the Cubs ate the $11.5 million left on his contract rather than keep him around the team while trying to trade him.

“Obviously, we’re dealing with a man that at this particular point in his career is not willing to face the facts,” general manager Jim Hendry said, “that what he’s done the last few years, except for a two-month period, is well below major league standards and who seems to have the continual problem of blaming everybody but himself.”

Silva, who was one of the worst performers in camp until his most recent start Wednesday, said the club misled him about his status and criticized new pitching coach Mark Riggins in particular for that, saying, “He has to learn he’s in the big leagues now.”

Cubs officials, who say Silva was respectful in conversations with them, were livid with the hefty right-hander’s public comments.

“First of all, he’s dead f—ing wrong about my pitching coach. And I got no f—ing time for that,” said manager Mike Quade. “And second, respect is a two-way street, period. If you’re not willing to give it, you’re not getting it.

“And the third thing, that everybody needs to know, this was my call. If you want to be irritated with somebody, this is on me.”

Riggins, one of Silva’s supporters this spring, took the high road.

“Carlos has his opinion, and I’ll leave it at that,” Riggins said. “I try to stay positive with everything. It’s water under the bridge. … It happens. I understand the emotions that go with things.”

Asked if Silva had apologized, Riggins said, “I’ll make no comment on that. … This game gives people a lot of character. Most people in baseball are very successful once they leave the game. And so I wish him the best, and if I can help him in any way, the door’s always open.”

Silva, who showed up to spring training out of shape after being assigned an off-season conditioning plan, was uncompetitive out of the gate this spring – even causing a dugout dustup with teammate Aramis Ramirez after just his first inning pitched.

This after a second half last year in which he won just one game and pitched just 11 1/3 innings.

“Basically, he wasn’t good enough to make the team,” Hendry said. “You factor in not only spring training, but you try to go back and factor in the second half last year, and you’re looking at a guy that had a 14-something ERA from July 11 on and that came to camp with the notion that he already had a spot in the rotation.”

The Cubs planned to take the next several days to try to trade Silva, obviously prepared to absorb the lion’s share of the $11.5-million remaining on his contract. Silva also was scheduled to pitch Monday.

All of that went by the wayside after the comments Saturday.

“I won’t tolerate it,” Hendry said.

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