"[We'll] give him a chance to build up a little bit," Girardi said. "My inkling would be you use him an inning, maybe try to build him up that way. But sometimes you're not afforded that luxury."
Hours after being activated, Phelps made his first appearance since Aug. 3 in the Yankees' 5-0 nightcap loss to the Orioles, throwing 29 pitches. The righty recorded two outs but then walked the bases loaded, setting up a Delmon Young hot shot that ate up second baseman Stephen Drew for a two-run single.
"It doesn't have anything to do with being rusty," Phelps said. "Regardless of how long you take off, throwing strikes shouldn't be a problem. I just got behind in some counts, and I wasn't able to make a pitch."
Phelps, 27, was 5-5 with a 4.24 ERA in 26 games (17 starts) this season before going on the DL.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.