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Chicago Cubs notes: Jeremiah Estrada heads back to Iowa on a high, while Esteban Quiroz’s 1st start is worth the wait

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Jeremiah Estrada left a strong impression in his last outing.

The 23-year-old Chicago Cubs right-hander walked the first batter he faced Monday against the Miami Marlins before recovering to strike out the side. Estrada finished with two scoreless innings, his best outing since he debuted Aug. 30 in Toronto.

The Cubs optioned Estrada to Triple-A Iowa before Wednesday’s series finale at LoanDepot Park. The move was made in conjunction with right-hander Keegan Thompson being activated from the 15-day injured list.

Estrada’s five appearances — with two runs allowed in 5⅔ innings — represent a small big-league sample size, but manager David Ross noted how the rookie has shown flashes of stuff.

Ross’ message to Estrada centered on continuing to work on his strengths and weaknesses because he could be recalled at some point.

“It’s some real swing and miss that stands out to me,” Ross said Wednesday. “He had a couple of bumps in the road there, which is expected. Just talking to him, helping him continue to develop and the things he wants to work on. Finding a strong routine that he believes in consistently and staying on that, working toward that.

“We’ve seen it before, some guy goes down and something happens up here and they’re right back.”

Thompson was out for a month with low back tightness. He will be used out of the bullpen, where he looks to finish strong. In 104⅓ innings, Thompson owns a 3.97 ERA, 1.313 WHIP, 2.46 strikeout-to-walk rate and a 104 ERA+ through 25 games (17 starts).

“Making sure he’s completely healthy was a top priority for us, and he feels good,” Ross said. “He wants to get back on there and help his team win. He’s worked really hard in the weight room and the training room and we’re happy to have him back.”

Esteban Quiroz’s memorable night

Esteban Quiroz’s professional baseball career traces back to his native Mexico, where he spent his first seven pro years in the Mexican League.

He didn’t join a minor-league affiliate until 2018 with the Boston Red Sox. Stints with three major-league organizations over the next four years eventually led him to the Cubs as part of a March trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Quiroz, 30, made his first major-league start Tuesday and collected his first hit and made a pair of nice defensive plays at second base, prompting Ross to declare after the game that Quiroz would be back in the lineup Wednesday.

Quiroz led off in the series finale and made another smooth play at second to help starter Marcus Stroman.

While these final two weeks carry no postseason meaning for the Cubs, they remain important to players such as Quiroz who are appreciating their major-league opportunity.

“It was a very humbling experience, really,” Quiroz said through an interpreter. “I dreamt of this moment. I was thinking about it a lot. It’s something that I’ve worked for. And (Monday) night they let me know that I was going to start the game.

“I started focusing on what I needed to do to be prepared to have the best start that I could. The three at-bats back in Chicago, I didn’t really perform the way that I wanted to. So I want to make sure I went out there and performed well.”

Marcus Stroman’s important pitch

The called strikes keep coming.

Stroman’s sinker has been particularly effective lately. After recording 14 called strikes with the pitch in his last start, his most since the beginning of the 2018 season, Stroman again had hitters guessing Wednesday with 10 called strikes with his sinker.

Stroman, as he typically does, relied predominantly on a sinker-slider combination versus the Marlins. He allowed three runs and five hits in six innings while walking one batter and striking out seven, one shy of his season high.

All three runs came off two home runs in the fifth. Nick Fortes took a 2-0 sinker deep to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead, and Lewin Diaz followed two batters later with a solo shot.

The Cubs rallied for a 4-3 win on Patrick Wisdom’s solo homer in the seventh and three runs without a hit in the eighth.

Ross credits Stroman’s sinker usage as the root of the right-hander’s success since returning from the IL in July.

“It’s been his best pitch well before he got here, but the main thing is he got back to using that a little bit more and having confidence in that,” Ross said. “That’s what I’ve seen and I think everything plays off that. He’s a really confident guy, especially when he has that two-seamer going and he’s been able to land the off-speed for strikes off that.”

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At least 15 dead after 2 migrant boats sink in Greek waters

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At Least 15 Dead After 2 Migrant Boats Sink In Greek Waters
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ATHENS, Greece — At least 15 people died when two boats carrying migrants sank in Greek waters on Wednesday night, and rescuers were searching for dozens of people still missing, authorities said Thursday.

The Coast Guard said 15 bodies were found near the eastern island of Lesvos after a dinghy carrying around 40 people sank. Five people were rescued and three had been located on a rocky outcrop near the sinking site. A second rescue effort was launched several hundred kilometers to the west, near the island of Kythera, where a sailboat carrying around 100 migrants struck rocks and sank on Wednesday evening.

Officials said 30 people were rescued after the boat hit rocks off the harbor in the village of Diakofti in the east of the island. Winds in the area were up to 45 mph.

“We could see the boat crashing against the rocks and people climbing over those rocks to try to save themselves. It was an amazing sight,” local resident Martha Stathaki told The Associated Press. “All the locals here have come down to the port to try to help.”

Fire rescuers lowered ropes to help migrants scale cliffs on the seafront. Local officials said a school in the area would be open to provide shelter for those rescued. Navy divers were also due to arrive on Thursday.

Most migrants arriving in Greece travel from neighboring Turkey, but smugglers have changed routes in recent months to avoid the heavily patrolled waters around the Greek islands near the Turkish coast.

Kythira is about 250 miles west of Turkey and on a route often used by smugglers to bypass Greece and head straight for Italy.

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Bidenomics pushes US national debt past $31 billion for first time

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The Biden administration’s relentless reliance on borrowing pushed the gross national debt to over $31 trillion for the first time amid record inflation, rising interest rates and fears of a recession imminent.

U.S. government debt closed at $31.1 trillion on Monday, according to Treasury Department data released Tuesday.

The step comes as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to tackle the highest inflation in 40 years, and the government borrows money to fund tax cuts even as it sends billions of overseas taxpayer dollars to Ukraine in aid.

“Many of the concerns we’ve had about the trajectory of our growing debt are starting to play out as we increase both our debt and our interest rates,” said Michael Peterson, chief executive of the Foundation. Peterson, who promotes deficit reduction.

“Too many people were happy with our debt trajectory, in part because rates were so low.”

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a US federal agency that provides Congress with economic and fiscal analysis, has warned of growing US debt under the Biden administration, warning that investors could lose confidence in the government’s ability to repay what it owes, as Breitbart News reported.

Those worries, the budget office said, could lead to “a sharp rise in interest rates and spiraling inflation.”

The $31 trillion threshold poses a political problem for President Biden, who has pledged to seek a more sustainable fiscal trajectory and reduce federal budget deficits by $1 trillion over a decade.

It also directly contradicts Biden’s assertion in September 2021 that his $3.5 trillion spending program actually costs “zero dollars” due to his safe and capable handling of taxpayers’ money.

“My build back better program costs nothing,” read a post from Biden’s Twitter account.

His message argued that the money was currently being “wasted” on “tax breaks, loopholes and tax evasion” and should be redistributed to working Americans as directed by his office.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that Biden’s debt addiction has added nearly $5 trillion to deficits since he took office.

This projection includes Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill, a variety of new spending initiatives approved by Congress, and a student debt cancellation plan that is expected to cost taxpayers nearly $400. billion dollars over 30 years.

Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University, told AP “it took this nation 200 years to rack up its first trillion dollars in national debt, and since the pandemic we’ve been adding more at the rate of 1 trillion almost every quarter.”

Predicting high inflation for the “foreseeable future,” he said, “when you increase government spending and the money supply, you will pay the price later.”

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or by e-mail to: [email protected]

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Merced family kidnapping update: 4 family members, including baby, found dead, sheriff says

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Merced Family Kidnapping Update: 4 Family Members, Including Baby, Found Dead, Sheriff Says
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MERCED COUNTY, Calif. — The four family members who were abducted from a Merced County business have been found dead, the sheriff announced Wednesday night.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said the bodies were found in an orchard near Indiana and Hutchinson roads.

“Our worst fears have been confirmed,” the sheriff said. “We have found the four people from the abduction and they are in fact deceased.”

“There are no words at this time to describe the anger I feel and the senselessness of this incident,” he added. “I said earlier, there’s a special place in Hell for this guy.”

Authorities at a press conference on Wednesday showed surveillance video of a man abducting the baby, Aroohi Dheri; the child’s mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27; father Jasdeep Singh, 36; and uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, from their business.

The suspect, Jesus Salgado, is in custody but remains sedated in a hospital after attempting suicide.

DEVELOPMENT: We will add more details to this report as they become available.

California Family Kidnapping: Chilling New Video Shows Suspect Takes 2 Zippered Family Members, Mother and Baby

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Jerry Vainisi, general manager of Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX championship team, dies at 80 – The Denver Post

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Jerry Vainisi, General Manager Of Chicago Bears Super Bowl Xx Championship Team, Dies At 80 - The Denver Post
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Former Chicago Bears manager Jerry Vainisi, general manager when the team won Super Bowl XX in January 1986, died Tuesday at age 80.

Vainisi served as the Bears’ general manager for four seasons, promoted to that position by franchise founder and owner George Halas in the summer of 1983. The team confirmed Vainisi’s death Wednesday night.

Vainisi remained in that role throughout the 1986 season, and during that time, under coach Mike Ditka, the Bears won 47 games and three NFC Central championships and had an iconic season in 1985. They went 15-1 during the regular season. season, then crushed three playoff opponents by a combined score of 91-10 en route to their only Super Bowl title and their first NFL championship since 1963.

“I will always appreciate the few years I spent with Jerry and will be eternally grateful to him for his decision to hire me as Bears controller in 1983, which started my 40-year career with the Bears.” , Bears president Ted Phillips said Wednesday. . “My thoughts and prayers are with him and his entire family.”

Vainisi’s exit from Halas Hall with two years remaining on his contract came after the Bears suffered a 27-13 home loss to the Washington Redskins in their postseason opener after the 1986 season. a 14-2 regular season, the Bears started Doug Flutie at quarterback in the playoff game. This became a burning issue at Halas Hall and was partly behind then-president Michael McCaskey’s efforts to replace Vainisi.

Flutie, who the team traded for just 12 weeks earlier, had started just one game for the Bears before that playoff game and went 11 for 31 for 134 yards with a touchdown pass and two interceptions in the season-ending loss to the Redskins. .

In an emotional statement after the firing, Ditka choked up when he called Vainisi “my best friend”, and when he found out that McCaskey had called for Vainisi’s resignation, Ditka was so upset he cried. He threatened to quit and tried to talk McCaskey out of letting Vainisi go.

“I was completely surprised and was very, very hurt,” Ditka said.

Vainisi joined the Bears as a controller in 1972 after leaving accounting firm Arthur Andersen. He also served as the club’s treasurer and lawyer before being appointed general manager. He replaced Jim Finks, who had resigned.

Finks is widely considered the primary architect of the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl team roster.

After leaving the Bears, Vainisi spent three seasons as vice president of player personnel for the Detroit Lions before working in operations for what started as the World League of American Football and was later renamed NFL Europe. . Vainisi was with the Lions in 1989 when they used the No. 3 pick to sign Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders.

Vainisi, a Chicago native, worked as a ball boy in the 1950s at the Green Bay Packers’ summer camp. After earning an accounting degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from Kent College in Chicago, Vainisi was a sportscaster in Monmouth, west-central Illinois.

In 2010, Vainisi was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. In 1999, he became chairman and sole owner of Forest Park Bank and also served as its chairman and chief executive.

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Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell makes his new team debut, and it was just ‘a little bit different’

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Cleveland Cavaliers Star Donovan Mitchell Makes His New Team Debut, And It Was Just 'A Little Bit Different'
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PHILADELPHIA — Less than five weeks after being acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a stunning blockbuster of a trade to cap a frenzied NBA offseason, Donovan Mitchell made his debut for the Cavaliers on Wednesday in the preseason opener. of Cleveland.

And, after finishing with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, to go with five assists in 19 minutes in a 113-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center, Mitchell admitted that the idea of ​​donning a different jersey than the Utah Jazz he wore the first five years of his career will take some getting used to.

“One hundred percent,” Mitchell said with a smile, when asked if it felt weird wearing a different jersey for the first time. “It just didn’t feel real to me…it still hasn’t hit me yet.”

Mitchell said he spent Monday looking out the window of the Four Seasons above downtown Philadelphia, and it was only then that he really realized that he was about to officially play for another team for the first time.

“Today I just sat there and had one of those moments where you sit there and look outside and see everything and it’s like, ‘Wow. It’s really here,’” a- he declared.

“Then once you’re on the court, basketball is still basketball. But all the little things, it’s definitely weird. A little different. But I’m excited. It’s going the way I thought it would, in the good meaning.”

Mitchell’s arrival in Cleveland to augment a burgeoning young core with All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen and finalist for last season’s Rookie of the Year award in Evan Mobley has the Cavaliers hoping this season will mark a rise in fortune to places the franchise hasn’t seen in decades when LeBron James was out of town.

When was the last time Cleveland made the playoffs without James? The 1997-98 season. When was the last time the Cavaliers won a playoff series without him? Thirty seasons ago, during the 1992-93 campaign, when Cleveland were swept by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in four games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

But to do those things — especially in what is arguably the deepest version of the Eastern Conference the NBA has seen in a generation or more — Cleveland will first need to get its two dominant guards, Mitchell and Garland, on the same page.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s game, Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff laid out the criteria that will show the process taking hold, saying the focus was on avoiding playing basketball “your turn.” , my turn”.

Afterwards, he, Garland and Mitchell were all happy with how things went in their first dry run against another team.

“I thought it was pretty seamless,” Bickerstaff said. “The way they played together, the way the ball moved, everyone got involved… as long as we play in the same style that we want to play, where it’s not just one guy based, but on the team, I think it will go well for us.”

And, for the most part, it did Wednesday night. Mitchell’s first mark as a Cavalier – a 3-pointer from right wing – came with an assist from Garland, who finished with 12 points and four assists on a 4-for-7 shot in 15 minutes, and was sandwiched between setting Mitchell down to Kevin Love for a pair of triples himself.

“I think we did a lot of things right,” Mitchell said. “You walk up the floor and it’s like, ‘He got it.’ But it’s not like, ‘He isolated him.’ It’s like, he made it, made a play, created… I said in the locker room, we didn’t call a lot of plays in the first half. It speaks to our ball movement.

After Cleveland relied almost solely on Garland to create an offense for himself and his teammates last season, he was thrilled with his first look at life playing alongside Mitchell – even within the meaningless confines of the first. half of Cleveland’s preseason opener, largely because of how it’s going to take the pressure off him to do everything offensively.

“I think it was the spacing, for me,” Garland said, when asked what he noticed the most while playing alongside Mitchell. “Just out of the pick and roll, there are so many threats on the other side, and it’s just a lot easier…you can just pick your poison. You have to live with it.

“It was just fun there, to be honest with you.”

As Cleveland waits to get Evan Mobley back on the court after spraining his ankle over the weekend, the Cavaliers also have another decision to make between now and opening night: who will start at small forward alongside Garland, Mitchell, Mobley and Allen.

There are a few possible options, including Caris LeVert, who started Wednesday’s game, Dean Wade, who hit 3 triples off the bench, and Isaac Okoro, the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Bickerstaff said his ultimate decision on who to plug in there will be determined by how well they can help unlock the best attributes of the four stars around them.

“It’s really going to be about fit, and it’s going to be who makes these four guys better,” he said. “Who helps them on the attacking side of the pitch? Who helps them on the defensive side of the pitch? Who can defensively protect the guys in certain situations? How does that help our matchups? Offensively, how does that help us space the floor? Those are all things we take into consideration.”

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Westbound I-494 closed this weekend near Mendota Heights

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Westbound I-494 Closed This Weekend Near Mendota Heights
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The westbound lanes of Interstate 494 near Mendota Heights will be closed at Interstate 35E this weekend.

The road will close starting at 9 p.m. Friday in addition to northbound and southbound I-35E ramps while crews continue to paint the Highway 55 bridge over the interstate. All traffic lanes and ramps are expected to reopen by 5 a.m. on Monday.

Drivers in the area should follow the detour using northbound Highway 77 and southbound I-35E or find an alternate route, according to a release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Access to all businesses and residences throughout the area will remain open.

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