Less than two hours before it was announced that CC Sabathia would have season-ending knee surgery, Masahiro Tanaka remained optimistic he would not have to undergo a procedure of his own.

Tanaka, who was discovered to have a slight tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament following a start at Cleveland on July 8, said he isn’t sure when, or if, he will pitch again this season, but he has not been given any reason to think the original time line of returning after six weeks is unrealistic.

“The doctors that looked at me made the assessment that I do not need surgery at this point and that I should be able to get it healed and rehabbed and be able to get up on the mound,” Tanaka said through an interpreter, in his first interview since suffering the injury. “All I can do is believe them and go with the treatment and the rehab program that the team is having for us.”

Tanaka, who never has felt a similar pain, said he was surprised when he learned the injury was as severe as it was. Though his elbow is feeling better, following a platelet-rich plasma injection on Monday, he still feels pain when performing certain movements.

“I’ll start throwing when it’s pain-free, so basically I have to wait for that day to come,” Tanaka said. “It’s kind of difficult to say how much it hurts because there’s no scale or something I can sort of compare to, but the irritation or the pain came during that day in Cleveland where I was pitching. It was something that gradually kind of built up.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tanaka could begin throwing by the beginning of August.