Minnesota Twins management said Saturday night that concern was growing "as each hour passes" about pitcher Steve Howe, who has been missing from the team since Friday afternoon.
Howe failed to show up for a flight from Detroit to Cleveland chartered by ABC after he was a guest Thursday on the network's Nightline program. Howe appeared on the show, which discussed drug abuse and athletics, from Chicago, where Minnesota and the White Sox played earlier in the evening.
According to Kim Edmonds, Nightline press representative, a chartered flight from Chicago to Detroit landed at 1:42 a.m. CDT Friday. Howe and the pilot were to make arrangments by telephone later in the day for the flight to Cleveland.
Howe had told Manager Ray Miller that he needed to go to Detroit to visit his wife's grandfather, who recently took ill. But while confirming the illness, members of Howe's family told the Twins that he wasn't with Cindy Howe's grandfather.
"Steve told some of his teammates and Ray that his grandfather on his wife's side had a stroke," said Andy MacPhail, the Twins' personnel director.
"This Cindy verified. He'd been given permission to stay over and do Nightline, and ABC had guaranteed us that they would get Steve to Cleveland in time for the doubleheader (Friday night). They arranged for the charter flights from Chicago to Detroit and Detroit to Cleveland. The only thing left for Steve to do was to contact the pilot.
"When you get down to it, unless we're missing something, there are a variety of situations. Your imagination could go wild, and one thing we don't want to do is say anything that's premature."
MacPhail spoke with Howe's agent, Jim Hawkins, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., by telephone Friday and Saturday. He said Hawkins didn't know about Howe's whereabouts.
Said MacPhail: "My concern is growing as each hour passes. In the beginning, it was easy for us to come up with very general-type reasons . . . it didn't appear at first to be that major of a thing. We'd thought it was important to be patient."
Howe was released by the Dodgers earlier this season after failing to show up for games on consecutive Sundays. The first time, Howe told Manager Tom Lasorda his wife had left him without car keys. After the second no-show, June 30, the Dodgers placed him on the restricted list and released him three days later. He signed with the Twins Aug. 11.