Photo: Mark Berman (Twitter)

This is very cool. Rich Dauer has been out of baseball since he collapsed during the Houston Astros championship parade last November and nearly died of an acute subdural hematoma. He had to undergo emergency brain surgery, and endured a lengthy recovery process; the closest he’s come to baseball since then was an emotional first pitch he threw back on April 2, at the Astros’ first home game of the season.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch is managing the American League team in tonight’s All-Star Game, and with Dauer up and about, Hinch invited Dauer to return to his staff for the big night. Apart from being a swell gesture, it gave Dauer a chance to do something he’d never done before, which was participate in an All-Star game:

This is an excellent development, especially considering how frightening the details of Dauer’s collapse were at the time. And for Dauer, tonight just might represent a first step towards some sort of return to baseball. Per the Baltimore Sun:

“It took me a while to start feeling good,” Dauer said. “I’m finally there, and I can tell because my wit is coming back a little bit, my sense of humor — things that I was known for when I was younger. I’m still not like my nickname, ‘Wacko,’ back in Baltimore. But it’s coming back. I feel great. I’m working on it every day. I wanted to wait until at least the All-Star Game to see if everything was right to come back. There’s no doubt I can do it. Now, you have to be wanted.”