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Pudge impressed with Strasburg's poise

Pudge impressed with Strasburg's poise

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VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals catcher Wil Nieves was behind the plate when right-hander Stephen Strasburg made his first two starts of the spring.

On Friday night, Strasburg dealt with a new catcher, Ivan Rodriguez, who caught Strasburg for the first time when the Nats faced the Cardinals in a 13-5 victory at Space Coast Stadium.

After the game, in which Strasburg pitched four innings, gave up two runs on four hits and struck out eight batters, Rodriguez came away impressed with what he saw from the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

"The kid has good stuff," Rodriguez said. "He has a good fastball and the changeup was very good. The breaking ball was a little flat today. It was up and away, but he made an adjustment."

What was it like for Strasburg to throw to one of the great catchers in the game?

"I loved it," Strasburg said. "He wanted me throwing curveballs on both sides of the plate. He wanted me to throw changeup to righties, fastballs in, fastballs away, fastballs up -- everything. That's a great thing. He went out there with the confidence in me to throw all of my pitches. It's great."

Will this be Strasburg's last Spring Training appearance with the big club? The Nationals will hold a meeting Saturday morning to determine if the young right-hander will be sent to Minor League camp.

Rodriguez indicated before the game ended that Strasburg was going to start the season in the Minor Leagues.

"He has tremendous talent," Rodriguez said. "He is going to the Minor Leagues and get some starts there. He is going to come to our team very soon. This kid is amazing. He throws a lot of strikes."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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