SAN FRANCISCO -- CC Sabathia underwent surgery on his left elbow Thursday, but his availability for the start of 2013 isn't expected to be in jeopardy.

Dr. James Andrews performed arthroscopic surgery to remove a small bone spur from Sabathia's elbow. The lefthander had pitched with the spur since his days in Cleveland, dating to at least 2008.

General manager Brian Cashman called the procedure, which was performed in Birmingham, Ala., "a minor cleanup" and said he fully expects Sabathia to "be ready by Opening Day."

Cashman said the team's "protocol" for Sabathia "will probably be different" in spring training, but he didn't specify what he meant. He did stress that he has no reason to think anyone other than Sabathia will start the 2013 season opener.

"I just know he'll be ready to go by Opening Day," Cashman said by phone from his Yankee Stadium office.

Sabathia went 15-6 with a 3.38 ERA this season, throwing 200 innings, his lowest total since 1922/3 in 2006. He had two stints on the disabled list, the latter because of left elbow inflammation (from Aug. 9-23), a condition that never fully was corrected.

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Sabathia, who would not use it as an excuse, allowed four runs in 24 innings in his last three regular-season starts and gave up three runs in 172/3 innings in two ALDS starts. But he was lit up in ALCS Game 4 in Detroit, allowing six runs and 11 hits in 32/3 innings. Several days after that, he said he had "concern" about the elbow.

"CC's stuff was not sharp in Detroit at all. Arm action in back did not appear as violent as in the past," one opposing team scout said. "Fastball velocity was down a tick and his secondary stuff lacked bite. Elbow definitely could have been barking."

If so, that's something Sabathia and the Yankees hope was taken care of Thursday.