Oklahoma City RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco is taking a leave of absence after he was diagnosed with cancer. He's expected to miss the first six to eight weeks of the upcoming Pacific Coast League baseball season.
The Houston Astros said the manager of their Triple-A affiliate is expected to make a full recovery with a projected return to Oklahoma City in May. Until then, DeFrancesco will undergo treatment for an unspecified cancer for five to six weeks at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Tom Lawless will serve as the RedHawks interim manager.
“Tony has handled this situation admirably,” said Quinton McCracken, the Astros' player development director. “Tony has done a tremendous job with our players and is a credit to our organization. We know he'll tackle this, and we look forward to his return to OKC.”
DeFrancesco, 50, has been one of the most successful Triple-A managers in the last decade, leading teams in Sacramento and Oklahoma City to winning records. He lived his dream two years ago when he was named the Astros' interim manager late in the 2012 season after Brad Mills was fired. A Houston team that lost 107 games was 16-25 under DeFrancesco.
That offseason, the Astros hired Bo Porter as Houston's new manager. DeFrancesco returned to Triple-A. Despite the RedHawks roster constantly in flux, Oklahoma City won its division championship and had a Pacific Coast League-best 82-62 record.
Houston had 16 RedHawks on its roster at the end of last season.
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