RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco might return in May

Skipper has been undergoing cancer treatments since diagnosis in mid-March.
by Michael Baldwin Published: April 25, 2014

photo - RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco will undergo treatments at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center.
                  photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman Archives
RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco will undergo treatments at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center. photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman Archives

Nearing the end of six weeks of chemotherapy treatment, RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco could return in May to run Oklahoma City’s Triple-A baseball team.

Quinton McCracken, the Houston Astros’ director of player development, provided an update on DeFrancesco’s status Friday night before the RedHawks played the Nashville Sounds at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

“Tony is progressing very well,” McCracken said. “He has a little over one week left of treatments. After that he’ll go home to Arizona to recuperate and literally get his feet up under him. We’ll progress from there.”

Tom Lawless, the RedHawks’ bench coach last season, is serving as the interim manager until DeFrancesco returns.

“We’ve texted several times. He has his good days and he has his bad days,” Lawless said. “He’s almost done with his treatment. Then it depends on how long it will take for him to get back to full strength.

“Anyone that knows him knows Tony is going to fight this, but it depends on how much (the cancer) fights back. You’re not talking about a common cold. This is a major life-threatening situation.”

The original prognosis was DeFrancesco might return during the RedHawks‘ annual “Big 12” road trip in late May.

“There is no exact date,” McCracken said. “Obviously, we’re looking forward to the day we can welcome him back when he’s physically capable of returning to his duties.”

DeFrancesco, 51, was diagnosed with an unnamed cancer in mid-March during detailed exams at the Astros’ spring training complex in Kissimmee, Fla.

The Astros announced in a press release in March they were optimistic the cancer was detected early and the RedHawks’ manager would undergo six weeks of treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

RedHawks first baseman Jon Singleton hasn’t talked to DeFrancesco since he began treatment, but Singleton said players are given updates.

by Michael Baldwin
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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