Hinch lobbying for Harris to earn All-Star nod

Astros manager believes his reliever warrants spot on AL squad

Hinch lobbying for Harris to earn All-Star nod

KANSAS CITY -- Royals manager Ned Yost, who will be tasked with picking five pitchers and two position players for the American League for next month's All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, is no stranger to Astros reliever Will Harris, who entered Friday's series opener with a 0.83 ERA and six saves in 32 appearances.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch has said repeatedly that he plans to lobby for Harris to get a spot on the All-Star team while his team visits the Royals this weekend at Kauffman Stadium. Yost said on Friday that Hinch pushed hard for Harris last year as well. Jose Altuve is leading the vote at second base in the AL and looks like a shoo-in to make his fourth All-Star appearance. Harris has a strong case, and Astros outfielder George Springer and starting pitcher Doug Fister are long shots.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Altuve and other #ASGWorthy players

"He's had a good year," Yost said of Harris. "But I mean, there's a lot of guys that have good years. You can go up and down the league and we were doing that today, looking at guys' numbers and looking at relievers' numbers. There's a lot of worthy guys that are worth consideration, and we'll give it our full consideration."

The All-Star teams will be unveiled at 6 p.m. ET on July 5 on the "Esurance All-Star Selection Show" on ESPN. The AL team will have nine elected starters via the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot. The pitchers and reserves are determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by Yost.

The players cast their ballots on Friday, and Yost said the results of those votes will give him a better idea on how to award the remaining spots on the roster.

"Then you make your picks from there," Yost said. "You always try to put the worthy guys on, but you also try to figure guys that are going to help your team win, and there's a lot of guys that have those qualifications."

Hinch was invited to be a part of the AL staff in the All-Star Game last year by Yost and got to know him well.

"As I got to know him, he offered as a mentorship his expertise throughout his years and all that he's done, so I've called him a number of times on topics that come up on teams and just see how his history and how he's handled it," Hinch said. "He's [lent] me a friendly ear and some advice and talked me through a few things. As a younger manager, you always turn to the guys that have done it and done it well, and arguably nobody's done it better in the last few years than him. He's been a great resource for me."

When asked if he had sympathy for Yost and the challenge of picking the All-Star team:

"I don't have sympathy for him because it means he was in the World Series last year, so that's some of the things that come with it," Hinch said. "There probably are no wrong answers. Somebody is going to be left off and last year I think it was Will Harris, among other guys, and hopefully this year we get the nod."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.