OKLAHOMA CITY - The Houston Astros and Oklahoma City RedHawks announced the 2013 RedHawks field staff, led by manager Tony DeFrancesco. Hitting coach Leon Roberts returns for a second season, and pitching coach Steve Webber will begin his first year in the Astros organization. After managing the RedHawks' final 16 games of 2012, Tom Lawless joins the team on a full-time basis as infield coach.
Last season, DeFrancesco guided the RedHawks to a 67-60 record before he was promoted to Astros interim manger on August 19. He managed 41 games in Houston, including a 15-15 mark during the final month of the season.
DeFrancesco is now 135-135 in two seasons with RedHawks. Over his 18-year managerial career in the Minor Leagues, he has amassed 1,235 wins. In nine seasons in the Pacific Coast League, DeFrancesco has captured six division titles and three league championships.
Roberts returns to Oklahoma City after creating a dramatic turnaround in the team's offense in 2012. Under his guidance, the RedHawks' team batting average jumped 22 up points from 2011 in addition to hitting 59 more home runs and scoring 145 more times. Prior to joining the Astros in 2012, Roberts spent 13 seasons in the Atlanta Braves organization, primarily as a hitting instructor. He has also managed 839 games throughout his coaching career.
Although Webber enters his first season with the RedHawks, he is no stranger to the Pacific Coast League. He spent the past three seasons as the Padres Triple-A pitching coach in Portland and Tucson. In 2012 his Tucson pitching staff reduced over a half-run off the team's ERA from the prior season.
Overall, Webber spent the last nine years as a pitching coach in San Diego's system and was honored with the organization's 2008 Jack Krol Award for contributions to Padres player development. He is also a former head coach at the University of Georgia and led the Bulldogs to the 1990 National Championship.
Lawless heads back to Oklahoma City as infield coach after stepping in as the team's manager following DeFrancesco's promotion last season. The RedHawks went 11-5 under Lawless, including wins in eight of the last nine games of the season before the team's playoff push fell a little bit short.
Before his late-season assignment with the RedHawks, Lawless was the Astros roving infield instructor. In addition to his role with the RedHawks this season, Lawless will also work with infielders throughout the organization.
Athletic trainer Mike Freer returns for a third straight year in Oklahoma City. Freer enters his 24th season with the Astros organization, as well as his 17th at the Triple-A level. He was named the Minor League Athletic Trainer of the Year by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society in 2003.
Alex Pounds joins the staff as strength and conditioning coach for his first season at Triple-A. Pounds previously served in the same capacity with Astros affiliates in Lancaster (High-A) and Corpus Christi (Double-A).
The RedHawks open the 2013 season on Thursday, April 4 in Memphis and begin their home slate on Friday, April 12. For tickets packages or to reserve a group outing, call (405) 218-1000 or visit okcredhawks.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.