Gardner, Joba, Manny B., Campos, etc.

Brett Gardner (elbow) is getting close, but not close enough for Brian Cashman to give a date when he could return.

"We start looking at potentially scheduling games in the minor leagues," Cashman said. "I will hold off on that until the batting practice sessions."

Gardner, out since the middle of April, could take batting practice this weekend and then play in a few rehab games before returning to the Yanks. So at some point toward the end of next week seems possible.

Joba Chamberlain is not running yet because of his dislocated ankle that has kept him out all season, Cashman said. Chamberlain, who is also still recovering from Tommy John surgery, has been throwing off of flat ground. The team is still deciding when or if he can go off a mound before he starts to run.

Cashman said Chamberlain still could be back this season. He declined to give a month.

David Aardsma, the former Mariners' closer, is rehabbing from Tommy John. Cashman said that it is going well for Aardsma. Cashman said that he would stick with the original estimates of August as a time that Aardsma could be ready for the bigs. Aardsma probably has a better chance to make an impact this year than Chamberlain, but that is very speculative.

"It is hard to gauge where guys are until they are in rehab games," Cashman said.

Manny Baneulos, who is still the Yankees' top pitching prospect, is still "shutdown" with left elbow soreness, Cashman said. Cashman doesn't have a time-table for his return, but said it would be this year. There was a slim chance Banuelos could contribute on the major-league level this season, but it is becoming slimmer each day Banuelos misses. Banuelos is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA. He was on the DL with a back injury earlier in the season. When he returned he was throwing crisper and not walking as many batters, which was a very encouraging sign.

Jose Campos is also still "shutdown" right now because of elbow soreness, Cashman said. Campos was the minor leaguer in the Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero deal. Campos, 19, began the year 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA at Single-A before a bad outing pushed it up to its current 4.01. He has now been out for three weeks.

"He'll be back this year at some point," Cashman said.

As for the certainty for Banuelos and Campos returning this year, Cashman used the phrase "without a doubt."

• Minor league catcher Austin Romine, out all year, tweeted that he has been cleared for baseball activities. He has been out with a bad back.