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03/14/10 7:15 PM ET

Cardinals speak highly of Strasburg

In first meeting, Nats righty throws three strong innings

VIERA, Fla. -- The Cardinals got their first look at Nationals' highly touted prospect Stephen Strasburg on Sunday.

In three innings, Strasburg allowed just two hits and one walk.

"He's very special," manager Tony La Russa said. "Every bit that's been said about him or written about him, they got it all right. Very special. A lot of guys throw 96 [mph]. It's where he's throwing it. It's all where it should be because he's got it all."

Allen Craig and Nick Stavinoha collected the Cards' two hits against the 21-year-old right-hander, while Colby Rasmus walked.

"Seeing him in just one at-bat, it's kind of tough to say," Rasmus said. "I saw him throw balls offspeed, didn't really think too much about it. I didn't think he was that impressive. He didn't throw any strikes to me with his offspeed stuff. I wouldn't put him up against a [Justin] Verlander, nothing like that at this stage of the game."

Adam Wainwright, who was third in the National League Cy Young voting last season, enjoyed facing the prospect.

"I love it. I wasn't at my best today, but anytime I'm the undercard, I'm usually fired up. It happens a lot," Wainwright said. "He's disgusting. What can you say? He throws 97 [mph], movement and a breaking ball he seems to be able to throw for a strike. I'm impressed. So, we'll see if he can get outs at the big league level."

Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan added this advice for one of the most hyped young pitchers in years.

"Oftentimes, when you get that kind of attention, a lot of people kind of want to put their hands on you, and I think it's the responsibility of the pitching coach to let him know the pitfalls that are out there," Duncan said. "I've read some stuff that he has said, and it sounds like to me like he has his head on pretty good. I think he's probably aware of the potential dangers that are out there."

Tim Walters is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.