DeFrancesco valuable asset to Astros' organization

LAKELAND, Fla. -- After managing the Astros for the final 41 games of the 2012 season, following the dismissal of Brad Mills, Tony DeFrancesco has returned this year to his previous role as manager of the club's Triple-A Oklahoma City affiliate.

Astros manager Bo Porter has leaned heavily on DeFrancesco since taking the job last fall and has used him as a sounding board.

"He is a true baseball professional, so I think he's embraced everything that's been in place here," Porter said. "He's completely on board with the organization and we're excited to have Tony. I lean on him a lot to ask him about some of the players because a lot of these guys he's managed."

This season will mark DeFrancesco's third as a Triple-A manager. He went 16-25 as interim manager of the Astros last year, including a 15-15 mark in the final 30 games of the season. He was among a handful of candidates that interviewed for the full-time managerial job that went to Porter.

"Bo's been great and the coaching staff has been great," DeFrancesco said. "I know a lot of the guys that were here last year and hopefully I can give them some of my recommendations, and so far everything is going great."

DeFrancesco still has Major League managerial aspirations, and said he'll always cherish beating the Mets at Citi Field last year for his first win. He grew up in Suffern, N.Y., which isn't too far from New York City.

"It's something I'll always remember," he said. "It's an opportunity I had and hopefully one day I get another shot at it, but right now I'm happy to be here and happy to help the guys and see this organization go in the right direction."