HOUSTON -- About a week ago, Astros manager A.J. Hinch went through a normal workout before a game. When a call came to his cell phone from a number he didn't recognize, he set it aside.
"Once I checked the message and realized who it was, I called him back," Hinch said Thursday. "Still didn't have any idea what he'd be calling about."
It was Royals manager Ned Yost with a special invitation. He wanted Hinch to join his coaching staff for the All-Star Game, a request which the first-year Houston manager quickly accepted.
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"I met him for the first time when they came in for the exhibition game prior to the season," Hinch said of Yost. "That probably means just as much to me as anything; the fact that I didn't know him and he sees our team's success as something he wants to represent. He called and asked me if I'd have interest, and that was an easy yes."
Hinch is the first Astros manager to be named a coach at the All-Star Game since Jimy Williams in 2004. Phil Garner managed the National League squad in 2006.
Hinch looks primed to be joined by a few players, too. Jose Altuve led all American League second basemen in fan voting as of Monday, and Hinch mentioned earlier this week -- before his appointment to the coaching staff was announced -- that he would put in a call to Yost on pitcher Dallas Keuchel's behalf.
That lobbying may be a little easier now.
"The real storyline is the players and what they're doing," Hinch said. "I get to be the beneficiary of it and wear the Astros logo with pride in a very special event. I'm thrilled."
Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.