Redhawks manager DeFrancesco diagnosed with cancer

HOUSTON, TX - Triple A Oklahoma City Manager Tony DeFrancesco was diagnosed with cancer earlier this month while participating in the Houston Astros Spring Training camp in Kissimmee, FL.

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. Doctors have indicated that the cancer was detected early and are optimistic for a full recovery.

DeFrancesco will undergo treatments at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. Treatments will last approximately five to six weeks. DeFrancesco is in good spirits and is hopeful to return to the Oklahoma City RedHawks at some point in May. Tom Lawless, who served as DeFrancesco's infield coach in 2013, will be OKC's interim manager.

"I am overwhelmed and truly grateful by the support of family, friends, and everyone associated with the Houston Astros organization," DeFrancesco said. "I am very confident in my medical team at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. I am optimistic for 100% recovery. My wife, Adriene, and I would like to thank everyone for their phone calls and prayers."

"Tony has handled this situation admirably," said Astros Player Development Director Quinton McCracken. "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, 2007). In 2012, he served as the Astros interim manager for the club's final 41 games, guiding Houston to a 15-15 mark over the last 30 games of the season.