NEW YORK -- When Hisashi Iwakuma pitched his best game in the Majors in his last start, he did so with a heavy heart after returning from a visit with his sick father back in Japan.
Iwakuma, 31, recorded his first win as a Seattle starter with eight innings of one-run ball with 13 strikeouts against the Blue Jays on Monday, just two days after flying back from Tokyo.
Iwakuma, who will start against the Yankees' Freddy Garcia on Sunday, said his dad has been ill for some time and is not doing well. Being so far away is not an easy thing at this time.
"I understand what my father is doing right now," Iwakuma said Saturday through interpreter Daisuke Sekiba. "I expect he's going to be getting worse because of his illness. It's been two years.
"It's difficult, but I tried to do my best and just used the time with my father. Even if it was just a short time, it was useful."
Iwakuma said his father is too sick to talk on the phone any more, but he believes he's rooting him on as he pursues his first year in the Major Leagues.
"I didn't have much time to meet with him, but I think when I came to the United States, he's cheering for me every time from Japan," Iwakuma said. "It's hard for me to think about it."
The Mariners respect what Iwakuma is going through and know how tiring his trip to Tokyo must have been last week after making the same 13-hour journey themselves in March to play the A's in the Opening Series.
"He's a professional," manager Eric Wedge said. "He comes here to do his job. The personal side is so important, but he's able to separate. You can tell he's not a kid. He's a grown man, a family man. Mature, strong, tough. He has his priorities in order. There's a lot of experience there, not just as a baseball player but as a person, too."
Iwakuma, whose wife and two children are living with him in Seattle, has one wish now as he finishes out his first year in the U.S.
"I hope at the end of the season, I'll be able to see him again," he said. "During the season, I'm trying to do my best and show him what I can do to give him more energy. As soon as I finish my season, I want to go back home to see my dad one more time, if I can do it that way."
Ryan OK after being plunked on elbow
NEW YORK -- Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan was hit in the left elbow by a pitch by Hiroki Kuroda in the seventh inning of Saturday's game at Yankee Stadium and had to be replaced by backup Munenori Kawasaki. X-rays revealed no fractures.
Ryan said his elbow was extremely sore, however, and he doubts he'll be able to play in Sunday's series finale. The 29-year-old infielder was 0-for-1 with a walk to that point in the game, which the Mariners won, 1-0, on a two-hit gem by Felix Hernandez.
The Mariners hit four Yankees batters in their previous series in Seattle two weeks ago, including three by Hernandez. One of those pitches broke the hand of Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, though Hernandez insisted he was merely struggling with his control that day.
Seattle manager Eric Wedge said he didn't think there was any connection between the two incidents, but Ryan wasn't so sure after the 93-mph fastball clipped him with an open base at first following Eric Thames' one-out double.
"I'm not saying there was intent or anything," Ryan said. "If you're throwing soft stuff out over the plate, you've got to back guys off. Whether that one got away from him, I don't know. It seemed like it just kind of chased me. I couldn't really get out of the way.
"I could have worn one the at-bat before that, too. There's definitely better places to get hit. Hopefully that kind of settled things, because I know we were kind of owed at least one. Obviously, none of our guys were trying to, but there comes to a point where it doesn't really matter. It's Major League Baseball, and you've got to be able to control your stuff.
"Purpose or not, it doesn't really matter. I guess we're even. Or maybe we have a couple more to go. Hopefully not. Hopefully this was good enough."
Kuroda was taken out after that pitch, his 103rd of the game.
"It was a two-seam that went in," Kuroda said simply.
Ryan is hitting .204 on the season, but is regarded as one of the top defensive shortstops in the American League. He said he broke his elbow in high school when he was hit in the same spot, so he was glad that wasn't the outcome this time.
"But it's not going to feel very good today or tomorrow," Ryan said. "Hopefully, it'll be OK [when the Mariners play the Orioles on Monday]. We'll have to see how it goes."
Mariners rookies bringing serious heat
NEW YORK -- While flame-throwing rookie reliever Carter Capps got much of the attention Friday after hitting triple-digits on the Yankee Stadium radar gun several times in his Major League debut, Mariners teammate Stephen Pryor was throwing nearly as hard -- and more effectively -- in his first inning of work since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma.
Pryor threw a 1-2-3 eighth inning and was hitting 97-98 mph with his fastball as he struck out Eric Chavez and Russell Martin and got Ichiro Suzuki to ground out.
The 23-year-old pitched six games in June for the Mariners before straining his groin muscle while making a play at first base and going on the 15-day disabled list. He then spent several weeks back in Triple-A once he recovered, but was brought back up to Seattle after Brandon League and Steve Delabar were traded Tuesday.
"Pryor was really good yesterday," manager Eric Wedge said prior to Saturday's game. "I wanted to get him in there because he'll be pitching meaningful innings for us, but he hadn't pitched in five or six days."
With all of seven games now in the bigs, Pryor is still a guy Capps is turning to for advice since they played together earlier this year in Double-A Jackson.
"Everyone is a veteran to me," Capps said with a grin.
"I don't know about that, but I try to look out for him, and everybody else is, too," Pryor said. "Everybody is excited he's here. It's going to be good. We had a month together in Jackson and then 3-4 days in Triple-A. We get along real well, play catch together, work out together. It's a good competition with each other. We push each other."
Capps became just the second player from the 2011 Draft to make his MLB debut when he pitched a third of an inning Friday, giving up a single, a walk and two runs while flashing his 100-mph fastball. Capps, who'll turn 22 on Tuesday, joins D-backs pitcher Trevor Bauer as the only players from last year's Draft to appear in the Majors so far.
"I don't know how many pitchers in the history of the game have had their first pitch at 100 mph," said Wedge. "But there can't be too many of them. And hey, it wasn't too traumatic. He got to face three hitters and got an out, so it was good. Your big league debut in Yankee Stadium? Not a bad day."
Furbush to remain at Triple-A a bit longer
NEW YORK -- Left-handed reliever Charlie Furbush made his first rehab appearance with Triple-A Tacoma on Friday as he recovers from a strained left biceps, giving up two hits and one run in an inning of work, while recording three strikeouts.
Furbush was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Saturday, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he'll remain with the Rainiers for at least another outing.
"He felt good and threw a lot of strikes, but he still needs at least one more," Wedge said. "I kind of felt that way before. I wanted him to have at least two [games], and then we'll see where he's at."
Furbush has been outstanding in a relief role this year (4-2, 2.17 ERA in 34 appearances), but Wedge said there's no temptation to consider him as a starting candidate going forward.
"Not for me," said Wedge. "We kind of pinpointed him as this when we traded for him and everything has played out pretty nice. He's a great weapon in the bullpen."
• Hector Noesi pitched his best game since being sent down to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday, giving up two earned runs and five hits in seven innings as the Rainiers beat Oklahoma City, 4-3, in 11 innings.
Noesi struck out five and walked one, retiring the last 14 batters he faced after allowing two runs in the first, but wound up with a no-decision. He is now 0-3 with an 8.17 ERA in five starts with Tacoma.
• Outfielder Leon Landry, one of the two prospects acquired from the Dodgers in the Brandon League trade last week, hit for the cycle in his third game with Class A High Desert on Friday. Landry went 4-for-5 with four RBIs and is now hitting .331 in 83 Class A games this year.
• Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez had a good day working out with Tacoma on Friday, according to Wedge, and will be reevaluated Sunday before any decision is made on when he'll begin his Minor League rehab stint. Gutierrez has been dealing with headaches and an inner-ear problem since being hit in the head with a pickoff throw on June 29.