Oakland slugger Dave Kingman has been fined $3,500 for sending a small rat to a female writer and will be released if a "similar incident" occurs, the A's announced last night in Kansas City, Mo.

Kingman had the rodent delivered in a pink box to Susan Fornoff of The Sacramento Bee during the first inning of Monday night's Oakland-Kansas City game. The rat had a tag that said, "My name is Sue."

Fornoff said Monday night that Kingman has told her he doesn't believe women belong in the clubhouse and has harassed her at times since she began covering the team last season for The Bee.

"The club has advised Kingman that if an incident of a similar nature occurs in the future, he will be released immediately without further compensation," the A's said. Kingman did not play last night.

In addition to fining Kingman, the club also apologized to Fornoff for the incident . . .

Bo Jackson will begin his baseball career with the Royals' Class AA Memphis Chicks next week.

Avron Fogelman, a Memphis businessman and co-owner of the Royals, made the announcement from his office four days after Jackson said he would sign with Kansas City.

"All along it's been the Royals' philosophy not to push players, and we think AA is where Bo should start," Fogelman said at a news conference. But, he added: "We want to see him in the major league before Sept. 1."

It is also hoped that Jackson's appearance will give the Southern League Chicks, who are averaging about 3,000 fans per home game, a big boost. Jackson will play in the Chicks' game Monday in Memphis against Columbus, Ga. . . .

Former major league pitching star Steve Howe, cleared of implications that he was again using cocaine, won reinstatement with the San Jose Bees and said he expects to be back in the big leagues soon.

Howe, who is scheduled to pitch Thursday night against Fresno in a California League game, was suspended May 15 by John Johnson, president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues because of a disputed drug test. Johnson released a statement yesterday from his St. Petersburg, Fla., office saying he took Howe off the ineligible list and placed him on the Bees' active roster.

The association governs minor league baseball, but Johnson said his decisions on Howe were supported by baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth.