Omar Lopez returns as Hooks manager for 2019 season

Posted at 1:58 PM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-24 14:59:41-05

Reigning Texas League Manager of the Year Omar Lopez will lead the Corpus Christi Hooks in 2019, the Houston Astros have announced.

Pitching coach Graham Johnson and hitting coach Tim LaMonte also have been announced for Lopez’s coaching staff.

Lopez directed the Hooks for the first time in 2018. He guided them to a Double-A best 82-56 record as the club claimed both the first- and second-half titles in the Texas League South. The Hooks’ .594 winning percentage ranked as the third-best mark in the team’s 15-season history.

Lopez, the seventh manager in team history enters his 21st campaign in the Houston organization, and his 12th as a minor-league skipper. He turned 42 on Jan. 3.

“We are thrilled to have Omar back in a Corpus Christi uniform,” Hooks president Ken Schrom said. “His record in terms of getting the guys ready to compete every day speaks for itself, and we appreciate his commitment to having our players actively participate in the community. Omar is a great friend and a big-time asset to the organization.”

Lopez has won two Venezuelan Professional Baseball League championships in five years as manager of Caribes de Anzoategui. In his first year as skipper, Lopez was named 2014-15 LVBP Manager of the Year after piloting Anzoategui to a 39-24 record and circuit title.

Johnson approaches his first Double-A campaign after joining the Astros last season as pitching coach at Quad Cities.  He played collegiately at Culver-Stockton College, spending six years as a coach at Morehead State University prior to joining the Houston organization.

LaMonte, beginning his first year in the Astros system, has worked as a private hitting instructor based in Texas since 1998, and previously ran In The Box Athletics, a baseball training and strength and conditioning facility.

He graduated from Texas A&M University-Commerce in 2001, and played baseball at Eastfield College.

Troy Snitker and Bill Murphy, who served on the Hooks field staff last year, received promotions this winter. Snitker, honored as the 2018 Texas League Mike Coolbaugh Coach of the Year, is on Houston’s big-league staff as a hitting coach.   Murphy is now the Astros’ pitching coordinator.

The Hooks will open the 2019 season when they hook up with the Amarillo Sod Poodles on April 4 at Whataburger Field.