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CLEVELAND (AP) - LeBron James is a free agent after declining his player option for next season with the NBA champion Cavaliers.
The move was expected by James, who said last week he intends to remain with Cleveland. The 31-year-old star has been a free agent the past three summers, electing each time to sign one-year contracts with a player option. It's not yet known if he'll sign another short-term deal or a multiyear package.
James was scheduled to make $24 million next season.
He was named Finals MVP after he helped the Cavs overcome a 3-1 deficit and beat the Golden State Warriors. The three-time champion averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists in the series. James posted a triple-double in Game 7 as the Cavs ended Cleveland's 52-year championship drought.
He's in his second stint with the Cavs after leaving as a free agent in 2010.
SEATTLE (AP) - Sean Rodriguez doubled in consecutive at-bats and drove in four runs, David Freese hit a solo home run and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Seattle Mariners 8-1 on Wednesday night to split a brief two-game interleague series.
Rodriguez was responsible for breaking the game open in the fifth inning with a three-run double into the left-field corner off Seattle reliever Donn Roach. Rodriguez doubled an inning earlier off starter Wade Miley (6-4) to score Starling Marte.
Freese got it all started with a solo home run on the first pitch of the second inning. It was a three-run inning for Pittsburgh, capped by a two-run double from Josh Harrison.
All that offense backed a strong start from rookie right-hander Jameson Taillon (2-1), who pitched six innings, giving up just one run and six hits.
CINCINNATI (AP) - Anthony Rizzo legged out his first inside-the-park homer on Wednesday -and the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-2 for a three-game sweep that got them back on solid footing after a rough week.
The Cubs went 1-6 last week, hurt by an injury-depleted lineup and a balky bullpen. With thousands of Cubs fans in the stands at Great American Ball Park for each game, they pulled off an invigorating sweep.
The NL Central leaders won the opener 11-8 as Kris Bryant became the first major leaguer with three homers and two doubles in a game. They won 7-2 in 15 innings Tuesday night in a game that featured Javier Baez's grand slam and three relievers playing left field alternately.
There was more wackiness in the finale.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Seth Jones to a $32.4 million, six-year contract.
Jones will count $5.4 million against the salary cap through the 2020-21 NHL season. He was a pending restricted free agent.
General manager Jarmo Kekalainen says reaching a long-term agreement with Jones was an offseason priority.
Agent Pat Brisson confirmed the terms of the contract, which includes a modified no-trade clause in years five and six.
Jones was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft to the Nashville Predators. The Blue Jackets acquired him in a January trade that sent center Ryan Johansen to Nashville.
In three NHL seasons, the 21-year-old Jones has 17 goals and 66 assists for 83 points. Kekalainen says Jones was just beginning to tap into his potential.
ATLANTA (AP) - Carlos Santana hit a tie-breaking single in Cleveland's three-run ninth inning, Corey Kluber allowed only three hits in eight innings and the Indians beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Tuesday night for their 11th straight win.
The winning streak is Cleveland's longest in 34 years.
Arodys Vizcaino (1-3) walked Tyler Naquin to open the ninth and then walked Juan Uribe on four pitches. With pinch-runner Rajai Davis at first base, pinch-hitter Michael Martinez struck out.
Vizcaino was in danger of issuing another walk when Santana lined a 3-1 pitch to right field, driving in Naquin from second base.
Braves shortstop Erick Aybar mishandled Francisco Lindor's grounder for an error, allowing Davis to score. Jose Ramirez added a run-scoring single up the middle.
Kluber (8-7), coming off a shutout of Tampa Bay, didn't allow a hit through five innings. The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.
SEATTLE (AP) - Nelson Cruz hit his 20th home run of the season, Robinson Cano had three hits including an RBI single and the Seattle Mariners beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Cruz and Cano led Seattle's offense, which had 12 hits. Cano's two-out single in the fifth scored Franklin Gutierrez and gave Cruz the opportunity for his two-run homer into the second deck in left field that gave Seattle a 5-0 lead.
Cruz became the only current player with at least 20 home runs in every season since 2009. David Ortiz and Brian McCann can also reach that mark this season.
Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma (7-6) took a shutout into the seventh inning before giving up a pair of runs. Iwakuma has pitched into the seventh in six of his past seven starts.
Jon Niese (6-6) allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings.