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Steve Howe set to play in Northern League

April 23, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ Relief pitcher Steve Howe, cut by the New York Yankees last June, is planning a comeback this season with the Sioux Falls Canaries of the independent Northern League.

Howe, whose career was interrupted by seven drug-related suspensions, will report to the South Dakota club for spring training on May 16, Canaries owner Harry Stavrenos said Tuesday night.

``It’s real apparent to me that it’s going to work for him,″ Stavrenos said. ``I think he wants to come back, prove he can pitch and sign with a contender later in the season.″

Howe, 39, was 0-1 with one save and a 6.35 ERA in 17 games when he was let go by the Yankees last year.

The Northern League, which is not affiliated with the major leagues, is where Darryl Strawberry revived his career last season. After playing for the St. Paul Saints, Strawberry signed with the Yankees.

The Canaries’ first game is May 30 against the Saints, whom Howe also contacted in the offseason.

Howe, the 1980 NL rookie of the year for Los Angeles, also played for Minnesota and Texas.

Last November, the left-handed pitcher pleaded guilty to gun possession and was sentenced to three years of probation and 150 hours of community service.

Howe was arrested June 24 at the Delta Airlines building at New York’s JFK Airport when a loaded .357 Magnum was detected inside his suitcase. The arrest came two days after he had been dropped by the Yankees.

Stavrenos and Howe crossed paths in 1986, when Stavrenos was general manager of the Class A San Jose Bees and Howe pitched for the team during one of his comebacks.

``I have no concern at all about Steve’s past,″ Stavrenos said.

Since his release, Howe has been working out at his home in Kalispell, Mont.

``I know we have a better pitching staff with Steve,″ Stavrenos said. ``Personally, I think he would have signed with another major league team within a week last year if that gun thing hadn’t happened.″

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