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Astros legend Jeff Bagwell declines to return as hitting coach

Oct 23, 2010, 6:20 PM EDT

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Jeff Bagwell, who left a cushy front-office job to return to the field as the Astros’ hitting coach at the All-Star break, announced Saturday that he wouldn’t return in that role in 2011.

Bagwell was offered a two-year deal to stay on as the hitting coach, but with seven- and nine-year-old daughters at home, he wasn’t willing to make that commitment.

“This was a very difficult decision for me,” he said in a press 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.”

Despite trading Lance Berkman to the Yankees at the deadline, the Astros improved considerably on offense in the second half. They went from hitting .238/.296/.347 before the break to .259/.311/.379 afterwards.

Bagwell will be eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time this winter. He leads a new class of eligibles that also includes Kevin Brown, Rafael Palmeiro, Larry Walker and John Olerud.

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