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Notes: Cordero out six weeks
05/24/2004  1:33 PM ET
MIAMI -- Already on the disabled list with inflammation in his left knee, Wil Cordero learned of another setback Monday.

The Marlins' backup first baseman/outfielder is scheduled to have an arthroscopy performed on his left knee Tuesday. And in two weeks, the same procedure will be done on his right knee.

The two surgeries will keep Cordero out approximately six weeks.

Cordero, who is hitting .213 in 22 games, was placed on the disabled list on May 19, retroactive to May 17.

The Marlins had been platooning Cordero at first base with left-handed hitting Hee Seop Choi.

A career .276 hitter entering the season, Cordero's knees have been bothering him for a while.

The 32-year-old is 13-for-61 with one home run and six RBIs.

An arthroscopy is a surgery to the internal structures of a joint.

With Cordero out, the Marlins likely will platoon Jeff Conine at first base against left-handed starters.

Conine, the everyday left fielder, played first for the first time Sunday against Arizona's Randy Johnson.

Mike Mordecai and Damion Easley are other right-handed hitting first base options.

Phelps in rotation: One of the numerous turning points to the Marlins' 2003 championship season came in Cincinnati on May 23.

Entering that day, the Marlins were riding a six-game losing streak and fell to a season-low 10-games under .500 (19-29).

Making matters worse, Brad Penny was battling a cold and was scratched hours before his scheduled start against the Reds. Left-hander Tommy Phelps took the ball in an emergency situation and went on to pick up a critical win.

Phelps gave up one run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings in his first Major League start. From that point forward, the Marlins won six straight and went on their incredible run toward the World Series title.

While the Marlins aren't in such a dire situation now, Phelps is being counted on to patch up the fifth starter spot. Ironically, the 30-year-old left-hander will once again take the ball at Cincinnati.

Phelps has replaced ineffective veteran Darren Oliver in the rotation.

"I was surprised," said Phelps, who moves from the bullpen to the rotation for possibly two or three starts. "I don't think starting makes any difference, what makes a difference is if I can make my pitches. It doesn't matter who you are facing, if you make good pitches, most of the time, you're going to get outs. They usually get your mistakes."

Phelps has not been involved in a decision this season, and he has a 3.00 ERA in 14 games. Oliver is 2-2 with a 7.94 ERA.

Marlins manager Jack McKeon said Phelps is penciled in for Wednesday's start, and it is unclear if he will make more than one start. How many starts he makes will be determined by performance and the status of A.J. Burnett, who is close to being activated.

"[Phelps] had great luck against them last time," McKeon said of the Reds. "Darren was having a little tough time, so we just decided to make the switch."

As for Oliver, McKeon said: "The last four or five times out, they've been hitting him pretty good. We can't keep getting behind three, four and five runs. We were hoping he would get back to what he was doing last year. He did it the first couple of times, but he hasn't been locating very well."

Burnett on track: All signs point to Burnett returning to the rotation on June 2 against the Reds at Pro Player Stadium.

The right-hander, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, had a successful rehab assignment Sunday, throwing four innings for Class A Jupiter in a Florida State League game.

Of the 78 pitches Burnett threw, 41 were clocked between 95-98 mph.

Burnett's next rehab start will be for Triple-A Albuquerque on May 28. The Isotopes will be in Memphis.

"There were a lot of positives," said Dean Treanor, the organization's minor league pitching coordinator who observed Burnett. "He's getting closer. They say you gain velocity the second season after Tommy John."

Since Burnett is already triggering 98, Treanor said: "I'm not quite sure what that computes out to."

Emergency shortstop: When Lenny Harris pinch-hit for Alex Gonzalez in the ninth inning Sunday, the Marlins were out of possible shortstops had the game extended to extra innings.

As it turned out, the question was moot because Harris ended up making the final out in a 4-3 loss.

But had the game gone on, McKeon was prepared to use right fielder Miguel Cabrera at shortstop. Cabrera was signed as a shortstop before becoming a third baseman, and now an outfielder.

McKeon was thinking of using Cabrera, who played short one time in the NLCS at Chicago, at shortstop. Conine would have moved to right field, and either Choi or Larry Sutton would have played first.

Another emergency shortstop would be second baseman Luis Castillo. And Harris, who came up as a second baseman, could have remained in the game and played second.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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