Howe declines Vincent talk awaits ruling


Steve Howe informed commissioner Fay Vincent yesterday that he does not want to meet with him regarding his guilty plea to a charge of attempting to possess cocaine.

That means Vincent will now impose definite sanctions on the suspended New York Yankees relief pitcher Wednesday.

Management and union officials agreed on an interim solution Thursday in which the commissioner would rule in 14 days on definite penalties against Howe for violating baseball's drug policy.

Previously, Vincent had suspended Howe indefinitely, but the union objected to the unspecific nature of the punishment.

If Howe had chosen to meet with Vincent, the commissioner would probably have needed two weeks to make his decision. But since Howe bypassed the possible meeting, sanctions will come Wednesday.

Howe had said previously that he wanted the opportunity to give Vincent his version of his Dec. 19 arrest in Kalispell, Mont., on federal misdemeanor drug charges, but the pitcher evidently changed his mind.

"I'm not aware of any reason he did not want to meet with him," said Rich Levin, a spokesman for Vincent.

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