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Royals' Gordon declines 2016 option, will test free agency

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals declined his player option for next season Wednesday and will test free agency for the first time, though he could still return to the World Series champions.

The four-time Gold Glove winner and former Nebraska star has spent his entire nine-year career with the Royals, who drafted him second overall in 2005. But it has only been in the past few years that he has truly flourished, driving up his value while helping Kansas City to this year's title.

Gordon's option rose to $13.75 million after he achieved a series of escalators. He will be 32 in February, which means this may be his last opportunity to sign a lucrative long-term deal, though both sides have expressed interest in Gordon remaining in Kansas City.

His decision was the most significant to come down Wednesday. Earlier in the day, the Royals declined mutual options on right fielder Alex Rios and starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. They still had not announced whether they had exercised club options on All-Star reliever Wade Davis, All-Star shortstop Alcides Escobar or outfielder Jonny Gomes.

Mets manager Collins gets contract through 2017

Terry Collins has a new contract to keep managing the New York Mets. He can only hope for a second chance in the World Series. Three days after their rousing season ended with a stinging loss to Kansas City, the Mets rewarded Collins on Wednesday for piloting them to the National League pennant.

The Mets held a club option on Collins for 2016 but instead gave him a two-year deal through 2017. The oldest manager in the majors at 66, he has a 394-416 regular-season record in five years with New York.

"Terry did an extraordinary job this year under differing circumstances as time went on," Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said during a news conference. "The first part of the season, we had high expectations. We had a high injury rate. Terry kept the team together, kept it competitive, kept our heads above water.

The agreement came quickly in the wake of New York's 12-inning loss to the Royals at home Sunday in the World Series.

In other news:

Pitcher Zack Greinke opted out of the final three years of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, giving up a guaranteed $71 million to become a free agent again.

The Dodgers are expected to make a $15.8 million qualifying offer Friday, which he will certainly reject. Los Angeles then would be eligible to receive an extra draft pick after the first round next year if Greinke signs with another team.


Atlanta, New Orleans, Santa Clara, each to host title game

Atlanta, New Orleans and Santa Clara, California, were selected to host College Football Playoff national championship games from a group of nine cities and regions.

The Atlanta Falcons' new stadium, which will open in 2017, will be the site of the championship game scheduled for Jan. 8, 2018. Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, the home of the San Francisco 49ers, will host the January 2019 title game. The New Orleans Superdome will be the site of the January 2020 championship game.

The playoff management committee, comprised of the FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame's athletic director, also considered bids from South Florida (Sun Life Stadium), Houston (NRG Stadium), Minneapolis (U.S. Bank Stadium), Detroit (Ford Field), Charlotte, North Carolina (Bank of American Stadium) and San Antonio (Alamodome).

This season's championship game will be held Jan. 11 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the home of the NFL's Cardinals and the site of the Fiesta Bowl. Next season's championship game will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, the home of the NFL's Buccaneers .


UNO women can't rally in exhibition loss to Washburn

UNO started quickly and mounted a late comeback but still dropped its first exhibition Wednesday.

The Mavericks raced to a 10-0 lead in the opening minutes and rallied from an eight-point deficit late in the fourth quarter before falling to Division II Washburn 61-56 in its first appearance at Baxter Arena.

Alyxis Bowens broke a 56-all tie for the Ichabods with a basket with 1:21 remaining. UNO had two chances to pull even after that, but a jumper by Mikaela Shaw and a 3-point attempt by Remy Davenport, which followed a free throw by Bowens to make it a three-point game, came up short.

Jayna Smith sealed the victory for Washburn with a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left. They came after she grabbed an offensive rebound following two missed fouls shots by teammate Haley Pfau.

The Ichabods outrebounded the Mavs 41-29 in the victory. They trailed 20-9 late in the first quarter, after UNO had scored the game's first 10 points, before rallying to take a 26-22 advantage to intermission.

The Mavs had one basket in the second quarter, going scoreless for the final seven minutes.

Washburn got three consecutive 3-pointers and 11 straight points from Julie Ravn, who finished with 16 points, to go up 54-46 with less than four minutes remaining. But Ellie Brecht scored five points as the Mavs pulled within 56-53 before Bobbi Beckwith tied the game with a three-point play with 1:36 to go.

UNO, led by Shaw's 19 points, didn't score after that. The Mavs play host to Peru State on Sunday.

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