TORONTO — Texas Rangers owner Eddie Chiles reportedly has been fined $250,000 by Commissioner Peter Ueberroth for calling up pitcher Steve Howe, who is attempting to make a comeback after a series of drug-related problems, without Ueberroth's permission.
Chiles, here for the quarterly meeting of baseball club owners, said Thursday that no fine had been levied, but the Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Rocky Mountain News reported in today's editions that Chiles was fined.
Ueberroth, who has unilateral power to levy a fine up to that amount, asked clubs this year to keep players returning from drug rehabilitation in the minor leagues for 60 to 90 days to make sure they have their problem under control.
Chiles said he talked to Ueberroth "but I can't cover everything we discussed. I'm not going to talk about anything on a speculative basis."
In another matter, Ueberroth said the 26 major league owners are split on the use of videotape replays to settle disputes over umpires' calls.
The commissioner said most of Thursday morning's session of the meeting was devoted to discussion of television matters, including the use of videotaped replays to help determine the outcome of close plays.
"It wasn't decided," Ueberroth said of the issue. "They are still deciding, but there are some very strong opinions on both sides of that issue."
The National Football League began using video replays last season to settle disputed calls.
Ueberroth said owners also discussed preparations for a new contract with television networks to replace the current six-year, $1.1-billion deal with NBC and ABC that expires in 1989.
A spokesman for one of the networks, who asked not to be named, said the networks will be looking to reduce the amount paid for baseball rights because fees for sporting events are declining generally in North America and because the growth of superstations and cable television has "oversaturated" the public with baseball.