Phelps, a switch-hitter, was promoted from Class AAA Columbus on Tuesday night and officially joined the Tribe on Wednesday. He makes his major-league debut at second base and bats seventh against the Twins and right-hander Carl Pavano.
Phelps also can play third and short, but he was drafted as a second baseman in the third round out of Stanford in 2008.
"The kid's going to get an opportunity to play, and we're going to have to see if he'll take advantage of it,'' Indians manager Manny Acta said. "For now, he's going to play second base, and we're going to give him the opportunity to play the majority of times against right-handed pitching.
"Orlando's been there, done that. You can't rule out Orlando coming back and playing every day. But this kid deserved a shot based on the way he's played the last two years at Columbus.''
Phelps, 24, was hitting .299 in 55 games for the Clippers. Last season, he hit .317 in 66 games for them after being promoted from Class AA Akron.
Cabrera, signed as a free agent in the offseason, hit .283 in April but has faded. He hit .230 in May and is at .143 (3-for-21) in June.
Cabrera is hitting .246 overall, 228 against righties.
"Orlando understands what's going on,'' Acta said. "He took (the news) very well, as well as he could. He was very professional. Obviously, he's...