Clayton Kershaw on track to begin a rehab assignment Friday

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2013 National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw threw 51 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday at Dodger Stadium as he continues to make his way back from a strain of the teres major muscle in his upper back. And he’s nearly ready to make his return to game action.

According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Kershaw is scheduled to throw another bullpen session tomorrow. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that while nothing is set in stone, the southpaw is currently on track to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Friday.

Pitchers are permitted to stay on a rehab minor league rehab stint for a maximum of 30 days, but Kershaw might only need a couple of tuneup starts before rejoining the Dodgers.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.