Jeff Bagwell done as hitting coach

Jeff Bagwell, the four-time All-Star and 1994 MVP with the Houston Astros who took over as the team's hitting coach during the All-Star break, won't return next season.

"This was a very difficult decision for me," Bagwell said in a news release. "I enjoyed my time as hitting coach a great deal. The players were great and I can't think of a better coaching staff to work with. They were outstanding."

Bagwell had been extended a two-year contract offer along with the rest of the team's coaches late last month.

"At this point in time, I'm unable to commit to a full season of putting in the time that is necessary to be effective in that role," he said. "But, I do look forward to continuing to work with the Astros."

General manager Ed Wade said Bagwell would stay on with the Astros in a similar role to the special assistant to the GM position he took after retiring in 2006.

"We're disappointed because Baggy did a terrific job with our club," Wade said in the statement. "However, we fully understand and respect his decision."

The Astros finished 75-86, 15 games back in the NL Central behind the Cincinnati Reds.

Bagwell, a .297 hitter with 449 home runs over 15 seasons with the Astros, becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2011.