PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia was back in the lineup Sunday for the first time in almost a week, having been sidelined by a case of bursitis in his left hip.
Saltalamacchia started behind the plate and drew a bases-loaded walk in three plate appearances and reported no problems with the hip.
"It's feeling good,'' said Saltalamacchia. "It's honestly just something that flared up a bit. During the season, it would be playable. But in spring training, I didn't want to take a chance of trying to play through a little bit of pain and you walk different and then your knee starts to hurt and it just goes on.
"Monitoring it, there's really nothing you can do except take anti-inflammatories and go.''
Saltalamacchia, 26, joked that hip bursitis usually attacks "old people...Old people and catchers.''
In other health news:
Following an off-day, Carl Crawford will be given clearance to "swing a little more'' than he has in his batting cage workouts, according to Bobby Valentine.
"He may even be allowed to bunt a little while he's swinging,'' said Valentine.
Lars Anderson, scheduled to start at first base Sunday against Tampa Bay, was scratched a couple of hours before game time after he experienced some soreness in his calf muscle.
He's considered day-to-day.
James White put it perfectly on Thursday. When asked if he was the one who injured Tom Brady's hand in Wednesday's practice, the running back replied, "The world may never know."
During an interview with NFL Network, another Patriots running back said you can't put Brady's injury on him.
"Not me," said DIon Lewis. "No, it wasn't me . . . I actually didn't see it happen, but from when I talked to other guys, I knew he was gonna be oaky. It's Tom, so regardless of any situation he's put in, he's going to make sure he's out there game day. Nobody's really worried."
That seems to be the general consensus inside the Patriots locker room. They're all expecting Brady to play. And when they're asked about how he's looked, their answers have ranged from evasive to joking about Brady's handsomeness.
The focus, as Lewis explained, isn't so much on the health of their quarterback but rather the game plan they're putting in place to take on the top defense in the AFC.
"We have a great idea," Lewis said, "of what we think we can do to have success against this defense . . . We just gotta be on point every play. We don't got plays to give away."
Might that mean a load of two-back or two-tight end sets to keep Jacksonville's base personnel on the field? Might that mean plenty of work in the screen game, as Jerod Mayo suggested on this week's Quick Slants the Podcast? Might that mean a heavy dose of Rob Gronkowski?
There are soft spots in the Jaguars defense, as talented as it is, but it will probably require Brady being able to grip a football for the Patriots to exploit them. His teammates seem confident he'll be able to do that.
FOXBORO — For the second straight day, Tom Brady was on the practice field long enough for people to take pictures of his hand. Check ‘em out.
Friday marked the second straight day in which Brady wore a glove on his throwing hand, something he does not typically do. He was also on the field for the media portion at the beginning of Thursday’s practice, but did not participate in the actual practice.
We’ll know when the practice report is released later today whether Brady practiced this time. He’ll also speak this afternoon.