READING, Pa. (CBS) – Mark Parent, manager of the Reading Phillies, doesn’t mince words when talking about his cleanup hitter’s prowess:  “Cody Overbeck can hit a fastball in his sleep.”
Overbeck blasted a home run on Tuesday in a 5-2 Reading loss to Trenton.  That was his team-leading (and Eastern League-leading) 13th long ball of the season, and it also upped his team- and league-leading RBI total to 35.

How does Overbeck describe himself at the plate?

“I guess a power hitter.  Since I’ve gotten drafted I put up decent power numbers, so I didn’t really consider myself a power hitter until I got to pro ball, I guess.  So, yeah.”

The 24-year-old slugger out of the University of Mississippi was a ninth-round selection of the Phillies in the 2008 draft, and he has steadily moved up the minor league ladder.

And he says he has learned to adjust as he moves up.

“Obviously the pitchers are better, so you cant waste any at-bats,” Overbeck says.  “You gotta go up there every at-bat, every pitch, and you gotta focus more than what you used to, because at the lower levels you can kind of get by on talent and everybody up here is talented and they are pitching well.  So you gotta go up there and focus every pitch and every at-bat.”

Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Cody Overbeck in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

Overbeck has joined with Matt Rizzotti to form a potent middle of the order in Reading that has helped the Phillies stay in the heat of the race in 2011.

One question with Overbeck is where he will play defensively.  He’s spent time at 1st, 3rd, and in the outfield in the minors, and he says getting better with the glove is a priority for him.

“It is, yeah.  But at the same time I feel like I’ve put myself here because of my offense, so I want to work on that, too.  But I guess working on my defense would be something that . . . I’ve worked hard at it,” he says.

Overbeck has just one error this season for Reading.  The R-Phils will continue their series with Trenton tonight.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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