Rangers Release Howe for Failing to Follow His Drug-Care Program

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

The Texas Rangers have terminated the two-year, guaranteed $1 million contract of pitcher Steve Howe because of violation of his after-care program for substance abuse.

Ranger General Manager Tom Grieve said Sunday that Howe would be given his unconditional release “for a major breach of his after-care program. I won’t comment beyond that.”

Howe’s attorney, John Lence, said: “It was not cocaine. It was a one-time use of alcohol.”

Howe had been tested for drugs and alcohol four times a week since signing with the Rangers on July 12. All of those tests, including those after the season, had been negative.


“It was my mistake,” Howe said. “I’m disappointed in myself.”

Grieve telephoned Howe, 29, at Whitefish, Mont., with his decision.

“He was crushed and very despondent,” Grieve said. “It was not a decision the Rangers feel guilty in making. Not to comply with the after-care program was a decision he made.”

Howe came last to Arlington last Monday for a three-day workout. “He looked great and had lost some weight.” Grieve said. “Then he didn’t show up for Wednesday’s workout. I can’t go into specifics what we found out.”


Grieve said: “It just shows the power and sinister nature of addiction. He gave up a contract for $1 million.”

Lence said Howe would not contest the Rangers’ decision.

“They’ve been very fair with us all along,” Lence said. “I’m hoping another team will call us and give us another chance.”

Howe was signed to an Oklahoma City minor-league contract by Texas following the lifting of his suspension by the National Assn. of Professional Baseball Leagues. He had been suspended by the organization in 1986 for violations of baseball’s policies regarding substance abuse.


Commissioner Peter Ueberroth later fined the Rangers $250,000 for signing Howe, who was 3-3 with a 4.31 earned-run average in 24 games for Texas.

Added Grieve: “I’m confused, hurt, sad and disappointed. Steve knew it was one more strike and you are out.

“I’d say his chances of continuing his career are not great.”