DETROIT -- When Clay Buchholz takes the mound on Sunday afternoon against the Tigers, it will truly signify that his comeback from a stress fracture in his back is complete.
The righty's season ended last June 16, and the Red Sox suffered greatly from his absence.
If Spring Training showed him anything, it's that his back is fine and he can just concentrate on pitching.
"It's more of a relaxed state of mind knowing that everything's fine and not having to worry about anything other than going out there and executing pitches and trying to help put this team in a position to win," Buchholz said.
Manager Bobby Valentine was pleased with what he saw from Buchholz during Spring Training.
"His pitches were all working for him," Valentine said. "He didn't necessarily have the full plate of competition under his belt, but he threw the way he wanted to."
Could this be the year that Buchholz hits the 200-inning plateau for the first time in his career?
"I feel like I put myself in a good position to reach that point," Buchholz said. "That's my goal at the beginning of every spring and at the end of every season, is to go out and make your 33 or 34 starts in a season and get to that 200-inning plateau."