Phelps was a starter and pitching rather well when he went on the disabled list on Aug. 4 with right elbow inflammation. But the Yankees are running out of time in the regular season and are hanging onto postseason hopes -- they now trail the Tigers by five games in the American League Wild Card race.
Phelps said he has not felt any pain in the elbow in more than a week. He made 50 throws from 60 feet on Monday and played catch on Wednesday.
"It won't obviously happen overnight, but we'll try to get him ready for the bullpen," Girardi said.
Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.