New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia looks on from the...

New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium on Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

CC Sabathia went for a second opinion Tuesday on his troublesome right knee and received the best possible news, given the circumstance.

"No surgery," the lefthander said before Tuesday night's game against the Astros. "Just start the rehab process and I think we felt like if I get enough rest, I'll be able to come back and pitch. I feel like maybe after the 15 days, that will be enough."

Sabathia, who came out of Sunday's start versus Cleveland after three innings because of pain in the knee and was placed on the DL Tuesday with inflammation, saw Dr. Answorth Allen at Hospital for Special Surgery.

"Just arthritic, a bad knee like we knew," said Sabathia, who missed most of last season following arthroscopic surgery on the knee. "So getting this rest I think would help."

Sabathia, 4-9 with a 5.27 ERA this season, entered Sunday with a 3.38 ERA in his previous three starts, his fastball routinely reaching up to 94 mph, a virtual non-occurrence since 2012.

The 35-year-old said that came from throwing with "max effort," essentially a devil-may-care attitude born of frustration from the poor numbers achieved throwing 88-90 as he tried to protect the knee.

When he returns, he said that won't change.

"I'm not going to censor myself or back off or anything," Sabathia said. "It's not the time for that. Hopefully, this rest will allow me to do that."

Although he's never pitched in relief, Sabathia didn't rule out pitching out of the bullpen when and if he returns this season.

"Helping this team in any way I can is what I'm here to do," he said. "If that means pitching out of the bullpen . . . it is what it is. I'm not here to make that decision. If I'm healthy enough, I know I can start on any team, so let them make that decision."

Joe Girardi said with plenty of uncertainty still surrounding the pitcher, it's not worth discussing yet.

"The first thing you do is get him healthy, then make the best decision," Girardi said. "If he doesn't get healthy, it doesn't really matter what we talk about."

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