Tony DeFrancesco will return for his fourth season as Oklahoma City RedHawks manager. The RedHawks' major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, made the announcement Wednesday. Hitting coach Leon Roberts will be back, and pitching coach Steve Webber will return. The trio guided the RedHawks to an 82-62 record and Pacific Coast League Southern Division championship last summer.
DeFrancesco has guided Oklahoma City to two consecutive winning seasons, although he had help in 2012 from co-manager Tom Lawless. DeFrancesco left the Triple-A team late that season to serve as the Astros' interim manager. He is the only manager in Oklahoma City's professional baseball history — which dates to 1904 — to receive an “in-season” promotion to the big leagues.
DeFrancesco was reassigned to Oklahoma City for the 2013 season after the Astros named Bo Porter as their full-time manager.
Jeff Murphy has been added to the Oklahoma City coaching staff this season. He will serve as a catching coach and development specialist. Murphy was the Astros' bullpen coach last season after 12 years in a similar capacity with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Oklahoma City's first home game this season is Friday, April 11, against the New Orleans Zephyrs. Ticket packages are available at (405) 218-1000 or okcredhawks.com.
SAC MATCHUP TOPS IN NATION
Third-ranked Oklahoma City University will play No. 6 Oklahoma Baptist in a Sooner Athletic Conference women's basketball game at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Noble Complex in Shawnee. The game was chosen by the NAIA as its No. 1 matchup of the week. Tickets ($6 adults, $4 students) are available at the Noble Complex box office.