The Phillies are aiming for an April return for McCutchen, who is recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered in June last season.
"Now, opening day is awfully early," Girardi told reporters Friday. "It's March 26. Had he been ready opening day it would have been pretty quick. He would have been on the short end of the rehab scale. But we don't expect it to be a real long time. Our thought process is we will get him sometime in April. ... With a high-end athlete like him, he's just not quite ready to go.
"He has made improvements as we've gone along. He continues to get better. But as we start to put it together, there's some things, some hurdles, that he still has to clear. ... We've seen him out there taking fly balls, we've seen him taking [batting practice], but we haven't seen him run full speed."
McCutchen, 33, had a .256 batting average with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs in 59 games last season, his first with the Phillies. The knee injury snapped his streak of eight consecutive seasons with at least 20 home runs.