The New York Yankees are close to a deal that would keep them in "The House That Ruth Built" well into the 21st century. The team refused comment on the agreement, but Mayor Edward I. Koch said the Yankee Stadium deal was close to being finalized.

"There are some points that yet have to be resolved," Koch said. "To say that the deal is done is not true. To say that we will ultimately have a deal, I think is true. We're working on it as hard as we know how, in good faith." . . .

Veteran Boston Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman had surgery for a torn ligament at the base of his left thumb and was declared out for the remainder of the season.

Gedman, injured in a home plate collision in Toronto on July 27, was operated on by Arthur Pappas, the Red Sox' team physician and an orthopedic specialist in Worcester, Mass. . . .

Texas Rangers President Mike Stone says left-hander Steve Howe could be brought up from the team's farm club this week. "We didn't sign Steve Howe with the intention of him being in the minor leagues," Stone said.

Howe is 2-2 since joining the Oklahoma City 89ers last month, and has a 3.72 earned run average. A former major league pitcher ousted for drug use, Howe has been tested for drugs at least four times since going to Oklahoma City, his agent said.