OAKLAND -- Their bullpen rested but their bench depleted, the A's decided to reinstate shortstop Cliff Pennington from the disabled list earlier than planned Tuesday.

Fresh off a pair of extra-inning games over the weekend that called for arm reinforcements, the A's entered the day with nine relievers, a number that was reduced to eight when lefty Pedro Figueroa was optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento upon Pennington's return.

Oakland's shortstop was originally slated to stay with the River Cats through at least Wednesday.

"We needed an extra position player," manager Bob Melvin said. "It was difficult to go with just three, and especially with Yoenis [Cespedes] a little banged up, that need was there. The bullpen was in a state of flux for obvious reasons, so even though Pedro Figueroa is going down, he really saved us the last couple of days and has contributed here significantly. It's too bad he has to go down, but nine was just too much in the bullpen. Now we're in a little better shape as far as making moves during the course of a game, with an extra position player."

Pennington, a career .231 hitter against Tuesday starter C.J. Wilson, was held out of the lineup with the lefty on the mound, but he confirmed he'll make his first start with the A's since July 19 on Wednesday against Angels right-hander Zack Greinke. He went 5-for-11 in a three-game rehab assignment with Sacramento.

"The elbow feels one thousand times better," said Pennington, who was dealing with tendinitis. "I was just seeing some pitches and getting timing back to get ready to be back here. It's nice to get some hits. It kind of gets you going in the right direction."

The A's hope it continues, having watched Pennington struggle for the majority of the season, as evidenced by his .197 average, including a .152 mark against left-handers, and .259 on-base percentage. With those numbers in mind, Melvin said Adam Rosales will likely still garner some starts against left-handers going forward.

Worth noting

• Yoenis Cespedes was back in the starting lineup Tuesday, having missed Monday's game because of lingering soreness in his right wrist. In a cautious effort, manager Bob Melvin plugged him in at designated hitter.

"If we can limit him in one of them, hitting or fielding, not have him throw and DH him, we'll probably be further along in getting him to 100 percent, as opposed to being on the field on top of that," Melvin said.