An MRI taken Thursday revealed an aggravation of the strain that has kept Gardner out of action since April 17. Gardner will not be permitted to swing a bat for 10 days, and manager Joe Girardi suggested that Gardner will not return for 15-25 days.
"It's not a seasonlong thing," Gardner said. "I tried to get it going too early, and it's something I've got to take a little more time with. Whether I take 10 days or who knows how long, I've got to get it right.
"I've always realized two days ago that it's not something I can play through, it's not something I can continue to go with. It's something that I've got to get right before I get back after it."
Gardner played in two Minor League rehabilitation games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and had been primed for activation before the setback. Gardner said that one positive is that the bone bruise he suffered while making a sliding catch is almost gone, so that won't nag him as he recovers.
"It's frustrating, but it is what it is," Gardner said. "A big part of my game is my legs, and I can continue to run, I can continue to come out here and take fly balls and ground balls and throw.
"I can keep my arm and my legs in shape, and whenever that right elbow feels good and I can swing a bat, I'll be a day or two away from being able to be in a game."