Clay Buchholz' long nightmare is over.

After missing three months with a shoulder injury that seemed like it would never heal Buchholz is slated to start Tuesday night's series opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg Fla. As one final tuneup he threw a bullpen session here today.

"Mentally I'm ready" Buchholz said. "I think that's what everyone was questioning -- mental toughness and everything. But I know my body better than everybody else does. I'm comfortable pitching now. There's nothing wrong that's come up."

At this point with his shoulder problem finally allayed the biggest question surrounding Buchholz seems to be whether he will be a reliable front-of-the-rotation pitcher for the Red Sox after such a long layoff. Before the injury he was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA and an early season contender for the Cy Young Award.