The injury was not serious, and manager Kirk Gibson said Pennington was available to play previously if he was needed, but Sunday marked his first day back in the lineup.
Pennington is hitting .257 (18-for-70) in 32 games this season. He may see more team with regular shortstop, 22-year-old Chris Owings, struggling. Owings hit .217 (20-for-92) in May.
"Pennington's been banged up," Gibson said. "I'm going to play him today. The slide by Cabrera, he jammed his thumb pretty good.'
Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.