Howe's trial on drug charges is pushed back to May 5 American League notes

March 12, 1992

The Missoula, Mont., trial of New York Yankees relief pitcher Steve Howe on drug charges was postponed yesterday until May 5.

No decision is expected until April on whether his written confession can be used by prosecutors.

U.S. Magistrate Bart Erickson changed the March 30 trial date after denying a request by Howe's lawyers for access to federal government information about prosecution of minor drug cases.

Erickson's decision dampened hopes of defense lawyers Pat Sherlock and Steve Nardi to have the charges thrown out for what they believe is selective prosecution of Howe because he is a famous player.

However, Nardi and Sherlock indicated they will use a March 30 hearing to present their arguments anyway to show that the federal government usually does not prosecute misdemeanor drug cases such as this.

* WHITE SOX: Bo Jackson packed his bags, then said goodbye to his teammates.

The former two-sports star left the club's spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., heading home to spend time with his family and prepare for probable hip replacement surgery sometime this summer.

"It's tough to see that talent, that person, not be able to do the things he's best at doing," catcher Carlton Fisk said.

First baseman Frank Thomas said: "He just realized he needs a little more time."

* MARINERS: Manager Bill Plummer said he plans to play first baseman Tino Martinez, a left-handed hitter, only against right-handed pitching to start the season in an effort to get him some confidence.

Meanwhile, Kevin Mitchell, who hasn't played an inning in the outfield yet, is 9-for-14, with seven RBI. "I'm working on going the other way, on going up the middle right now," he said. "They're pitching me away, so that's what I'm doing."

Retired outfielder Ken Griffey Sr., now a coach but always curious about a broadcasting career, did six mock innings of radio work Tuesday.

* RED SOX: Wade Boggs, who missed his fourth straight exhibition game because of a slight groin strain, took batting practice for the first time in two days and said later he would be ready to play today.

"I did a lot of things today. I reached for a ground ball and I sort of got to the point that I thought I couldn't go to and I didn't feel anything," he said. "It's like having a hot piece of charcoal in that area and you're having to let just calm down, because if you don't it just continuously gets inflamed and it will just never heal."

Boggs, a .345 lifetime hitter, can become a free agent at the end of the season. His agent, Alan Nero, is scheduled to talk with management Saturday.

* ATHLETICS: Bob Welch pitched three innings without experiencing any pain in his left knee.

Welch felt a pop in his knee Super Bowl Sunday and had to take a cortisone shot three days after arriving to training camp Feb. 21. Welch has been throwing on the sidelines without pain for more than a week, so the A's decided to start him yesterday.

* INDIANS: Gene Orza of the Major League Baseball Players Association said the club's signing of 10 players to long-term contracts could be illegal. The players gave up their arbitration rights.

"No, sir," responded general manager John Hart. "Yes, I've talked to my players. There's nothing that says you can't talk to your players. We presented our concept to them. Ultimately, they made the decision."

* ROYALS: Tom Gordon, who left his first spring start with a sore elbow on Sunday, played long toss on the sidelines and is tentatively scheduled to throw in the bullpen tomorrow.

* ANGELS: Continued soreness in Chuck Finley's left big toe will delay his first spring start and is jeopardizing his chances of taking his first scheduled turn this season. Finley, who underwent surgery in early December to repair a shattered bone in the toe, had discomfort Tuesday and did not throw yesterday.

Meanwhile, tests on outfielder Luis Polonia's sore left shoulder found nothing more than an inflammation.

SG * TIGERS: First baseman Cecil Fielder has six hits in nine at-bats.

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