Right-hander Yu Darvish said during his lengthy rehab process that he expected to avoid additional surgery on his achy elbow.

But after being shut down for the season in late August, Darvish sought another medical opinion. On Wednesday, he underwent an arthroscopic debridement — or “clean-out” — of the elbow in Dallas.

It’s unclear what “debris” was removed, but the Cubs characterized the surgery as routine. And they expect Darvish to return healthy and ready when spring training starts in February.

“It sounds like it was not highly invasive, but anytime you have surgery, it’s surgery,” manager Joe Maddon said.

“I don’t know if surprise or not surprised is the right word. He’s had some issues all year; we know that. And the conclusion is that he needed this procedure. I barely got my doctor of letters as an honorary degree in 2010. I was on the 35-year plan at Lafayette.”

Darvish, who was diagnosed with triceps tendinitis and eventually a stress-reaction bone bruise in his surgically rebuilt elbow, went 1-4 with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts in the first year of his six-year, $126 million contract.

This and that

Jon Lester, who left his start Monday because of back spasms, was well enough to play with his sons at the ballpark before the game and remains on his regular schedule to start Saturday against the Reds.

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“I’m working under the assumption that he’s going to be fine,” Maddon said.

† Left fielder Kyle Schwarber, who has made one start since leaving a game Sept. 5 with back pain, still is bothered enough by the injury that he’ll stay behind when the team travels to Washington for Thursday’s makeup game. Four starting pitchers and anybody else ruled out for availability also will stay back.

† The Cubs’ 1:20 p.m. scheduled start time for the series opener Friday against the Reds has been pushed back to 7:05 p.m. to help accommodate the turnaround from the quick trip to Washington.

† Maddon said he expects to continue to pair backup catcher Victor Caratini with left-hander Cole Hamels, but, otherwise, slumping Willson Contreras remains his regular starter. Contreras was 3-for-24 since Aug. 30 entering play Wednesday.