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CC Sabathia relieved to be avoiding microfracture surgery

CC Sabathia sits in the dugout after being

CC Sabathia sits in the dugout after being pulled from the game in the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on May 4, 2014. Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

Finally, CC Sabathia can rest easier. It may not have been the best possible news, but the simple fact that it wasn't the worst news was enough for Sabathia, who is "confident'' that he will be ready for spring training.

Sabathia will have season-ending surgery on his right knee on Wednesday, but it won't be the microfracture procedure that had been feared -- one that would have required perhaps an 18-month recovery.

The surgery, to be performed by Los Angeles-based surgeon Neal ElAttrache, was described by general manager Brian Cashman as an "arthroscopic debridement'' of the knee.

"Russell Westbrook had the same surgery and was able to come back and be fine,'' Sabathia said of the Oklahoma City Thunder guard. "Obviously, you have to deal with a little bit of swelling here and there . . . My goal is to pitch the next five or six years, past this contract. I'm confident that I'll be able to do that.''

Sabathia, who will turn 34 Monday, is in the third season of a five-year, $122-million deal.

"It's unfortunate to have to miss the rest of the season, but I feel relieved that I have answers and a plan in place to move forward,'' Sabathia said Saturday before the Yankees' 7-1 victory over the Reds. " . . . [Friday night] was the first night I was able to get some real sleep, knowing that I don't have to have the microfracture surgery and I can return next year.''

Even though the news came as a relief, the finality of Sabathia's season ending in mid-July with a 3-4 record and career-worst 5.28 ERA still stings.

"It's not fun," he said. "Especially the way these guys have been grinding. I want to be a part of it and have been trying to do everything I can to get back on the field. This is unfortunate. It's one of those things, something that I've never had to deal with. But I am now. But hopefully this will be a time to get healthy and get ready to go in spring training.''

Sabathia made his eighth and final start May 10 before going on the disabled list with a degenerative cartilage problem in the knee. He tried to return but was shut down after experiencing renewed swelling in the knee after his second rehab outing July 2 with Double-A Trenton.

"I felt like I was on the right path,'' Sabathia said of his rehab. "But waking up the night after, I couldn't even get my workout done and do what I wanted to do. When I had the elbow injury in 2012, I was able to manage the swelling and was able to get out there every fifth day. But with this, I didn't feel confident.''

He added, "Eventually, I'll have to have a big surgery. But right now the goal is to keep playing. This is the easiest way to do it.''

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