"I want guys to have goals in mind," Girardi said. "I think if you don't have a date in mind, it's even more difficult to go through what you're going through. I think it gives him a little bit of hope that he's going to get to do what he loves."
Gardner has played in just nine games this season, and none since April 17, due to a strained right elbow. His latest setback prompted a recommendation of three to four weeks of rest after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection and a cortisone shot last week in Cincinnati.
"I think we have missed him, even though we have played extremely well as of late," Girardi said. "We have missed him. We miss his ability to create runs. We miss his defense in left field. We miss a lot of things. I'm looking forward to getting him back."