Jeff Bagwell explains why he chose not to return as Astros hitting coach

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Jeff Bagwell left his special assistant gig in Houston’s front office to take over as the Astros’ hitting coach when Sean Berry was fired at the All-Star break and the offense actually showed some significant improvement in the second half despite trading away Lance Berkman.

However, last week the former MVP turned down a two-year contract offer to remain on the job.

Bagwell plans to stay involved in the organization, perhaps returning to a similar front office role, but told reporters earlier this week that serving as hitting coach took him away from his family too much to continue:

I never got a chance to see my kids. They would get up and go to school at 7:30, and I’d wake up and go to the ballpark at 12 and never see them again. I can’t do that. My decision came down to the time the coaches put in, the effort they put in and my family. I don’t think I was going to be able to give all that kind of stuff for seven months and be away from my family and not be able to see my kids. When you’re playing, you have no idea what goes on in that coaches’ room, and in today’s game, it’s even more, because they have that video room where they’re in there every single second. It was a lot of time and a lot of work.

Chalk his half-season on the job up as another data point for the best players rarely making the best coaches, regardless of the sport.

Dominic Smith dealing with a strained right quad

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Mets first baseman Dominic Smith is dealing with a strained right quad and is set to undergo an MRI on Monday, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Smith, 22, did not play in the Mets’ first Grapefruit League game after showing up late. He played on Saturday, scoring two runs on a single and a hit-by-pitch in two plate appearances. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup.

The Mets signed Adrian Gonzalez during the offseason, which makes him the front runner for the starting job at first base. Smith needs to have a strong spring showing to make the 25-man roster but so far, it hasn’t gone well.

Smith made his major league debut in August last year and ended up playing in 49 games. He struggled to a .198/.262/.395 slash line with nine home runs and 26 RBI in 183 plate appearances.