He will start on Thursday in Chicago.Kikuchi signed a four-year contract with the Mariners. He made his MLB debut on March 21 pitching 4.2 innings while allowing two runs, one earned, and striking out three. Mariners pitcher Yusei Kikuchi shared devastating news Sunday.Kikuchi’s father, Yuji, passed away after a long battler with cancer. The first-year MLB player recently visited his father during the team’s Japan Opening Series. “During my recent visit to Japan, my father expressed his desire for me to remain focused on baseball and to help my team win,” Kikuchi said in a statement. “Although difficult, I will honor his wishes and dedicate the rest of this season to him. “This statement will be my only comment on this matter, but I will remain available to answer baseball questions beginning tomorrow, Sunday, March 31.”Thank you for respecting the love and honor we shared for my father, and our request for privacy moving forward.”Kikuchi will not return to Japan for his father’s funeral, the Seattle Times reported.