Triple-A manager DeFrancesco diagnosed with cancer
Former Astros skipper expected to make complete recovery after treatment
JUPITER, Fla. -- Tony DeFrancesco, the manager of the Astros' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, is undergoing treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston after being diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer earlier this month while at Spring Training, the Astros announced Sunday.
DeFrancesco, who managed the Astros for the final 41 games of the 2012 season after Brad Mills was dismissed, is expected to make a full recovery because the cancer was detected early, the team said. His treatment is expected to last five to six weeks, and he hopes to return to the bench in May.
Tom Lawless, who served as DeFrancesco's infield coach in 2013, will be the RedHawks' interim manager.
"I am overwhelmed and truly grateful by the support of family, friends, and everyone associated with the Houston Astros organization," DeFrancesco said in a statement. "I am very confident in my medical team at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. I am optimistic for 100 percent recovery. My wife, Adriene, and I would like to thank everyone for their phone calls and prayers."
While undergoing a physical with the rest of the staff in camp, DeFrancesco spoke to doctors about the symptoms he was experiencing. As a result, he was referred to a specialist and then diagnosed with cancer.
"Tony has handled this situation admirably," Astros director of player development Quinton McCracken said. "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 managed the RedHawks since 2011. Last season, he led Oklahoma City to an 82-62 mark, which was tops in the Pacific Coast League, despite having the youngest roster in the league. The 2014 season will be his 20th as a manager overall. The former catcher won three PCL championships as manager for Triple-A Sacramento (2003-04, '07).