NEW YORK (AP) _ Utilityman David Howard and right-hander Brett Hinchliffe were among four players who agreed to minor league contracts with the New York Mets on Tuesday.

Left-hander Joe Crawford and shortstop Kevin Baez _ former Mets _ also agreed to minor league deals. All four were invited to spring training.

Howard, 33, went to spring training with Colorado and missed the season because of a badly pulled right quadriceps.

The 26-year-old Hinchliffe was 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two games with Anaheim this year, then was traded July 28 to the Chicago Cubs.

The Crawford, 30, was 4-3 with a 3.30 ERA in 19 games for the Mets in 1996. After spending two years in Japan, he pitched this year in Milwaukee's farm system and the Mexican League.

Baez, 33, hit .278 with 27 doubles, five home runs and 50 RBIs for the Triple-A Norfolk Mets this year. He batted .179 in 63 games for New York from 1990-93.