Dick Wagner, who battled with Manager Hal Lanier throughout the season, resigned as Houston Astros general manager yesterday, saying he wasn't always certain what owner John McMullen expected of him.

"I have a hard time reading what he wants of me or what he expects of this job," Wagner said. "But this is a very friendly parting. This is not what might be a typical shouting at one another.

"I have great respect for the man. He's very demanding, but all good, successful people are demanding."

Wagner said at one point last week, McMullen offered to extend his contract another year.

Lanier complained publicly several times during the season that Wagner had failed to make key trades to bolster the Astros' bullpen and the shortstop and catching positions.

But Wagner said there was more to his departure than his disagreements with Lanier.

"There are some problems where Hal is going to have to mend his ways, but that's one thing," Wagner said. "I felt John was not happy with the club and wasn't happy with certain things that had happened.

"I wasn't sure of what he wanted of the job and from me. You put all that together and that's when I made the move."

Lanier could not be reached for comment.