TORONTO — CC Sabathia talked the night before like a player who expected his season to be over. He was dreading the results of the MRI he was scheduled to have Wednesday.
It didn’t turn out to be nearly that bad, with Joe Girardi saying he couldn’t rule out the possibility Sabathia could take his next scheduled turn in the rotation.
“It actually came back good,” Girardi said of the MRI results. “If you looked at the way he was discussing things last night, I think he was quite concerned. But we were happy with how the MRI came back.”
In other words, “no new damage,” Girardi said, in the right knee that forced Sabathia from Tuesday night’s loss to the Blue Jays after three innings.
Sabathia’s right knee has given him difficulty in recent years and he sounded outright depressed late Tuesday night as he described the “pain” he felt during the three-inning outing.
Sabathia had season-ending surgery on the knee in July 2014 and then what the Yankees called “a cleanup procedure” on it last October.
“The key for him has been bringing stability back to the knee and brace [he started wearing late in 2015] has been a big part of that,” Girardi. “But when you’re landing and you have pain every pitch [like Tuesday night], you’re going to have a hard time. So we have to knock that out.”
It would still seem a longshot that Sabathia, 9-5 with a 4.05 ERA this season, will be able to start in five days. Girardi said rookie LHP Jordan Montgomery, optioned back to the minors Sunday, would likely take that start if Sabathia is unable.
Hicks nearing return
Girardi said OF Aaron Hicks (right oblique) is expected to return to the lineup Friday when the Yankees open a three-game series against Boston.
Bird, Castro making progress
Greg Bird (right ankle) and Starlin Castro (right hamstring) again did extensive work on the field several hours before the game and Girardi said both are slated to go out on rehab assignments “sometime next week.”