Phelps could return from DL in three weeksRight-hander hasn't felt pain in elbow, expects to ramp up rehab
"The MRI looked good last time, we're just trying to make sure it still looks good," the righty told the media Tuesday afternoon, "but I'd expect to move forward."
Phelps made 50 throws from 60 feet on Monday and said he hasn't felt pain in the elbow in at least a week, which makes him hopeful that it won't be long before he's able to ramp up the rehab efforts.
"We've been working, we just have to wait to see what the doctor says and hopefully move forward," he said. "I'd imagine the next step in the progression is from 60 to 90 feet, and we'll go from there."
As far as a timetable goes, Phelps hopes his return is sooner than the three weeks or so that seems to be the internal consensus, but the Yankees' skipper was as usual mum on the situation.
"They've talked three weeks potentially, but I don't think it will take that long," Phelps said. "It all depends on how everything goes. We don't want to have a setback at this point in the season, so we have to be careful not to rush things, but I've only been out for two weeks."
"You hate to say anything (about a timetable or role) because you're afraid it will change tomorrow," added Joe Girardi, "but I think the biggest thing is to make sure he's healthy and can throw bullpens and get ready to go."
As far as his role goes, however, neither Phelps nor Girardi seems to know whether the righty will return to the rotation or head to the bullpen. Phelps made nine relief appearances earlier this year and went 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 17 starts after moving to the rotation in May, but where he lands down the stretch may be determined simply by how soon the Yankees want -- or need -- him back on the active roster.
"How we use him probably depends on how much time it takes him to get back," Girardi said. "Right now, our starters are throwing well and our relievers have been good too, so I think what you look at is how long it will take to get him back as either a starter or a reliever, and then you go from there."