TORONTO -- CC Sabathia's dejected demeanor in the visiting clubhouse at Rogers Centre late on Tuesday evening did not portend good news, but that is exactly what the Yankees received when the left-hander traveled to New York for an MRI on his aching right knee.
Sabathia lasted just three innings in Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Blue Jays, serving up a pair of two-run homers to Josh Donaldson, and seemed concerned that he had pitched with pain throughout the entire outing. Sabathia may still miss his next start, but the Yankees are encouraged that this does not appear to be a worst-case scenario.
"He had an MRI today and it actually came back good," manager Joe Girardi said before Wednesday's 11-5 win over Toronto. "I think if you looked at the way he was discussing things [Tuesday] night, I think he was quite concerned. But we were happy with the way the MRI came. Obviously we'll have to see him Friday before we make any decisions but the good news is that it came back good."
Girardi said that the doctors will try to reduce Sabathia's discomfort with medication, but the MRI showed no new damage to his knee. A free agent after this season, his ninth with the Yankees, Sabathia is 9-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 19 starts.
Sabathia has been told that he is pitching with bone-on-bone arthritis in a knee that eventually will require replacement surgery.
Should Sabathia be unable to make his next start, the Yankees could recall left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who was 7-6 with a 4.05 ERA in 21 starts before being optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre following Sunday's game.
"Anything's an option right now," Girardi said. "Let's just see what happens with CC Friday before we make any choices, but Montgomery would probably be the leading choice."
• Aaron Hicks (right oblique strain) is expected to return to the Yankees' lineup Friday when the club opens a three-game series against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Hicks is 7-for-20 (.350) with three doubles, a triple and a stolen base in six Minor League rehab games.
• Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) and Starlin Castro (right hamstring strain) are both expected to begin Minor League rehabilitation assignments next week, according to Girardi. Bird is seen as slightly ahead of Castro in the recovery process.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.