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Intel to build $20B Ohio chip facility amid global shortage

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Intel to build $20B Ohio chip facility amid global shortage

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Chipmaker Intel said Friday it will invest $20 billion to build a new factory in Ohio, an attempt to help alleviate a global shortage of chips powering everything from phones to cars to home appliances while also signaling the giant company’s commitment to manufacturing crucial technology products in the U.S.

The move could also create a new technology hub in central Ohio as related businesses that support chip manufacturing open new facilities and bring expertise to the region.

Intel said two planned factories, or fabs, will support its own line of processors, as well as its new “foundry” business, which will build chips designed by other firms. Existing chip foundries turn out a vast number of custom-designed chips, mostly in Asia. The business is currently dominated by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., or TSMC.

The future production site aims to meet multiple needs, Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger said during a White House event. Chips built there won’t just reduce supply chain pressures, he said, but will also bolster U.S. national security while bringing more tech jobs to the region.

The two factories on a 1,000-acre site in Licking County, just east of Columbus, are expected to create 3,000 company jobs — many of them highly skilled — and 7,000 construction jobs. The facility will support tens of thousands of additional jobs for suppliers and partners, Intel and local and state officials said Friday.

“A semiconductor factory is not like other factories,” said Gelsinger, a former Intel executive who returned to the company as CEO in 2021. “It’s more like a small city supporting a vibrant community of services, suppliers and ancillary businesses. You can think about this as a magnet for the entire tech industry.”

President Joe Biden used Intel’s Ohio announcement to push a $52 billion bill awaiting House approval that would invest in the chip sector and help ensure more production occurs in the U.S.

“We are going to invest in America,” Biden said at the White House. “We’re investing in American workers. We’re going to stamp everything we can, ‘Made in America,’ especially these computer chips.”

Construction is expected to begin this year, with production coming online at the end of 2025. The company is also investing an additional $100 million for an education pipeline to help provide jobs for the facility. Total investment could top $100 billion over the decade, with six additional factories, Gelsinger said.

Intel said one of the products it will make in Ohio is the Intel 18A, “among the most advanced chips ever made,” according to Forrester analyst Glenn O’Donnell. Those will likely be used in the high-end computers that are popular with video game enthusiasts and needed for the data centers run by tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft.

Gelsinger said he expects the Ohio site will also supply specialized chips for cars — a priority for U.S. consumers and officials — and other products such as mobile devices.

Intel’s Ohio site could help relieve pressure on the company’s other production lines.

But making more computer chips in the U.S. won’t entirely protect the industry from supply chain disruptions and shortages because the chips still will be sent to Asia for assembling and packaging, said Nina Turner, a research analyst at IDC.

After years of heavy reliance on Asia for the production of computer chips, vulnerability to shortages of the crucial components was exposed in the U.S. and Europe as they began to emerge economically from the pandemic.

The U.S. share of the worldwide chip manufacturing market has declined from 37% in 1990 to 12% today, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association, and shortages have become a potential risk.

Shortages of chips have crimped the ability of U.S. automakers to produce vehicles, and last year, General Motors was unseated by Toyota as the nation’s top-selling automaker for the first time.

The U.S. and Europe are pushing to aggressively to build chipmaking capacity and reduce reliance on producers that are now mostly based in Asia. Semiconductor businesses have also been trying to diversify their operations to avoid bottlenecks caused by problems — such as a natural disaster or pandemic lockdown — in a specific region.

Several chipmakers last year signaled an interest in expanding their American operations if the U.S. government is able to make it easier to build chip plants. Samsung said in November it plans to build a $17 billion factory outside of Austin, Texas.

As Biden alluded to, lawmakers have been urging House and Senate leaders to fully fund a law meant to address the semiconductor chip shortage. They want Congress to fully fund the $52 billion CHIPS for America Act, allowing for stateside investment in semiconductor factories.

Not only has the chip shortage disrupted the U.S. economy, it is also creating a vulnerability in the country’s defense system, since eight of every 10 chips are produced in Asia, lawmakers say.

Intel executives made clear Friday that the size of its Ohio complex will depend on passage of the federal subsidies sought by the Biden administration and Ohio lawmakers.

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Orioles ace John Means ‘looking forward to the grind’ of recovery from Tommy John surgery

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Orioles ace John Means ‘looking forward to the grind’ of recovery from Tommy John surgery

John Means is in the early stages of his recovery from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, but the mustache he sported Wednesday in the Orioles’ clubhouse was in vintage form.

“Gotta keep it interesting, you know?” Baltimore’s left-handed ace said. “I was losing my mind.”

Without baseball as he recovers from his season-ending procedure, Means has turned to facial hair. He’s only three weeks into a recovery and rehabilitation process that will take at least a year, but he said he and doctors are pleased thus far.

“Honestly, it’s going better than it’s supposed to be,” Means said. “My range [of motion], they said we’re ahead of schedule, so I don’t know, three weeks, and we got 12 months to go. Little victories here and there.”

Means unexpectedly exited his second start after only four innings, with testing eventually revealing the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow was “about 90% torn,” he said. Dr. Keith Meister performed the surgery in Arlington, Texas, on April 27, three day after Means’ 29th birthday.

Means spent his offseason training at Meister’s Texas Metroplex Institute, hoping to strengthen a left shoulder that has landed him on the injured list in two of his first three major league seasons. In 2021, Means had a 2.05 ERA through 11 starts before exiting his 12th outing in the first inning with a left shoulder strain. He missed nearly two months, then had a 4.88 ERA after returning.

He had no previous elbow injuries before this one. He’s back at TMI to rehab.

“I’m definitely going to be working out like crazy to try and keep that competitive edge and all that,” Means said. “I’m looking forward to coming back. I’m looking forward to the grind of this.”

He’s also getting more time around his family, watching his 1-year-old son, McCoy.

“That’s been the best part, let me tell you,” Means said. “He’s swinging off the tee now, and he’s running around constantly. I’m getting my workout in just chasing him around the living room and kitchen to try to keep his hands off the oven and microwave.”

Means said he hopes to visit the Orioles at least once a month and will be traveling with them for their upcoming road series in New York. The day after, he’ll have his arbitration hearing to determine his salary for this season.

“It’s tough watching games and that sort of thing,” Means said. “You just want to be there — good, bad, whatever it is, you want to be there for your team and be a part of it. That part’s been hard, but I’m getting used to it. I’m going to come back as much as I possibly can to be around the guys.”

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has been pleased with how Baltimore’s pitching staff has handled losing Means, who served as their opening day starter for the second straight season. Having him around on occasion will benefit the other pitchers, Hyde said.

“He’s still a big part of our team,” Hyde said, “and it’s great to have him in the building.”

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Twins power way to series victory in Oakland with 14-4 rout in finale

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Twins power way to series victory in Oakland with 14-4 rout in finale

OAKLAND, Calif. — Before Sonny Gray threw his first pitch on Wednesday, the veteran starter was sitting on a three-run lead. It was that kind of day for the Twins, who put on a show on offense and rode a quality start from Gray to a 14-4 victory and a series win over the Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum.

The Twins opened up the game in the first inning, using four hits and a walk to produce their three runs. Gary Sánchez, who has started to heat up as of late, dropped a broken-bat single into left field to give the Twins a two-run lead. Gio Urshela followed with an RBI single of his own.

The Twins tacked on runs throughout the game, including a five-run sixth inning in which they broke the game wide open.

Carlos Correa, activated off the injured list earlier in the day, finished with two hits and a walk. He drove in a run on a double to center in the fourth, part of a two-run inning that included a Luis Arraez RBI double. Arraez finished the day with a team-leading three hits.

That was more than enough support for Gray, who threw six innings in his longest start of the season. While he ran into some trouble in the earlier innings, he seemed to settle in later, retiring the final 10 batters he faced.

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What’s behind Gleyber Torres’ early season resurgence?

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What’s behind Gleyber Torres’ early season resurgence?

Gleyber Torres, at just 25 years old, has already lived several lives in pinstripes.

He was the anointed one, the heir apparent to Alfonso Soriano, a two-time All-Star and a playoff hero, all before his 23rd birthday.

Then the pitfalls that many people face in their early-to-mid-20s began to rear their ugly heads. The pandemic certainly didn’t help, but even in 2021 as things returned to normalcy, Torres was dreadful at his job. The former top prospect who looked like a pillar of the Yankees’ next great team instead lost his starting shortstop gig. When he was in the starting lineup, he was often buried in the seventh spot.

When Torres was officially moved off of shortstop at the end of last season, his manager said of his defensive issues at the high-pressure position, “I feel like it’s been a weight on him.” Trade talks swirled, as the combination of poor play and the impending free agency of Carlos Correa, Corey Seager and others made Torres seem like the odd man out.

Instead, the Yankees stood pat on free agent shortstops, kept Torres, and traded for a defensive maestro in Isiah Kiner-Falefa. With the stability of knowing that he’d still be a Yankee, plus not having to worry about playing shortstop anymore, Torres has started 2022 with a bang.

As of Wednesday morning, Torres has a 117 wRC+ and .741 OPS, both his highest since 2019, the last time he consistently punished the baseball. After five straight hitless games in mid-April, Torres turned things around with a pinch-hit single in Detroit. Though his eighth-inning knock ended up being mostly meaningless — he was stranded on the bases and the Yankees lost 3-0 — that plate appearance did something to get him back on track.

Starting with that game, Torres has slashed .301/.342/.521. Seven of his 22 hits in that span have gone for extra bases, including four home runs. As a result, his numbers on the young season show a completely different player than the one who sulked through two straight soul crumbling campaigns.

“Last year was a very [hard] struggle for me,” Torres said after driving in five runs in a win over Toronto on May 11. “All the work I put in the offseason, I can show that every time I go to home plate. I mean I can still learn the game.”

Glancing at his numbers, the things that Torres has seemed to learn this year are fairly simple, and also a very common school of thought across Major League Baseball right now. He’s mashing fastballs, putting the ball in the air more often, and as a result, he’s making a lot more hard contact.

In 2021, as Torres’ overall slugging percentage sagged to a career-low .366, fastballs were one of the main culprits. He slugged a not-ideal .352 on heaters, and with two strikes, fastballs resulted in a strikeout 19.6% of the time. This year, though things could still change as he gets more at-bats, Torres is slugging .536 on fastballs. They’re only putting him away 12.9% of the time he gets in a two-strike hole.

Hunting fastballs is an effective strategy for most hitters, but on an even more simplistic level, so is hitting pitches that are meant to be hit. First-year hitting coach Dillon Lawson showed up to his new job with the catchphrase “Hit strikes hard”. Torres appears to have taken that to heart. According to Baseball-Savant, in three key areas of the strike zone — middle-up, middle-down and up-and-in — Torres is hitting the ball hard at a significantly higher rate than he was last year.

Hard contact is particularly damaging when it’s in the air. Every stadium can hold a well-struck grounder, very few will contain an airborne missile. For the last two seasons — the ones Torres would like to forget — he ran a ground ball rate north of 40%. This year, it’s down to 35.2% so far, with fly balls getting above 40% for the first time since 2019. As Rangers’ salty manager Chris Woodward can attest to, sometimes getting the ball in the air at Yankee Stadium leads to “Little League home runs.” Whether they go 320 or 420 feet, a home run is a home run, and Torres is already more than halfway to his home run total from last year.

The other adjustment Torres has made in the season’s first month is swinging more often. His swing percentage has shot up to 76.2%, nearly identical to the 76.3% he had when swatting 38 homers in 2019. This could be a sign that Torres isn’t overthinking things at the plate, a welcome sign for someone who has spoken openly about the mental strife he’s endured.

“First of all, I feel really good,” Torres told reporters last week. “I mean, my swing has gotten better and better. And I’m working hard every day to be the way I want to be. But so far, so good. I think confidence is back and that is the most important thing for me.”

That renewed confidence could also wind up being one of the most important things for the Yankees, a team that, at 27-9, has absolutely been the way they want to be.

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