CORPUS CHRISTI - Omar Lopez will manage the Corpus Christi Hooks for the 2018 Texas League season, the Houston Astros player development department announced Friday.
Lopez, who is now the seventh field chief in the 14-year history of the Hooks, enters his 20th campaign in the Astros organization, and his 11th as a minor-league skipper.
Lopez will be assisted by pitching coach Bill Murphy, hitting coach Troy Snitker, and development coach Mycal Jones.
Last season, Lopez guided the Advanced A Buies Creek Astros to a 74-65 record, which topped the Carolina League Southern Division. His other managerial stops include Class A Quad Cities (2013-14, 2016), Advanced A Lancaster (2015), Rookie Level Greeneville (2011-12), Gulf Coast League (2009-10) and Venezuelan Summer League (2008).
Lopez, 41, takes over for Rodney Linares, who earned a promotion to Triple-A Fresno. Linares leaves the Sparkling City as the winningest manager in Hooks history, compiling a 241-177 (.577) record over three seasons with the club. Linares led Corpus Christi to a pair of playoff berths, including a franchise record 89-win campaign in 2015.
"We are excited to welcome Omar to Corpus Christi," Hooks president Ken Schrom said. "The Astros have a lot of confidence in him, and certainly the track record is there. Hooks fans expect the good guys to win. I trust Omar will put us in a position to do that, while developing the next crop of World Series champions.
"We want to thank Rodney for his three years of service. He is a tremendous manager, and a pleasure to work with. This Triple-A promotion is well deserved."
In 2013, Lopez led Quad Cities to an 81-57 finish and Midwest League title. A native of Valencia, Venezuela, Lopez was named manager of the year in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League for the 2014-15 season, piloting Caribes to a circuit-best 39-24 mark and an LVBP championship.
Lopez is currently managing Caribes, who have advanced to the LVBP Semifinals.
In 2010, he earned the Astros Player Development Man of the Year award for his efforts to mentor the organization's Spanish speaking prospects through their first year of professional baseball in the United States.
Prior to starting his managerial career in 2008, Lopez was a hitting and infield instructor in the Astros Venezuelan program. While in Venezuela, he was one of the scouts who recommended the signing of Jose Altuve, a then 16-year-old free agent and future 2017 American League MVP.
Lopez played three minor league seasons with the Chicago White Sox (1996-97) and Arizona Diamondbacks (1998).
2018 marks Murphy's third season in the Astros organization. He tutored pitchers at Tri-City of the New York-Penn League last year, working with manager Morgan Ensberg. In 2016, Murphy made his professional debut in the Appalachian League as pitching coach for Greeneville.
Prior to joining Houston, Murphy served stints as pitching coach at Brown University, and co-manager and pitching coach for the Northwoods Collegiate League Battle Creek Bombers.
He graduated from Rutgers University in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in History. Murphy, who received his MBA in Management from Wagner College in Staten Island, NY, was a pitcher on the Rutgers baseball team for three years.
Snitker comes to Corpus Christi for his third season as an instructor in the Houston system. He was hitting coach at Buies Creek last year, and served as rehab hitting coordinator and GCL coach in 2016.
Snitker, 29, was selected by Atlanta in the 19th round of the 2011 draft out of the University of North Georgia. The former catcher played two seasons in the Braves system before being traded to Pittsburgh. Snitker finished his playing career with a short stint in the independent Atlantic League in 2013.
During his final season at North Georgia, Snitker earned Peach Belt All-Conference honors after hitting .340 with a team-best six home runs and 44 RBIs. He started behind the dish in all of the school's 54 games.
Snitker has a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and a master's degree in Physical Education. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Snitker's dad, Brian, manages the Atlanta Braves.
Jones joins the Astros organization after spending last year running his own baseball academy. Drafted by the Braves in the fourth round in 2009, the Florida native played eight seasons in the Atlanta system as primarily a shortstop and centerfielder.
Jones, 30, received 62 assignments with Triple-A Gwinnett in 2015. He retired in 2016 following a 90-game run with the independent Somerset Patriots of Bridgewater, NJ.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.