Venezuelan Astros show support for country

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Several Venezuelan-born Astros players and some of their teammates and members of the field staff posed for a picture and held up a Venezuelan flag for a photo opportunity on Sunday morning to show support for the country in turmoil.

"It's for our country," said Cesar Izturis. "We need to see everybody at peace. Everybody knows over there, right now, it's crazy, and I have my family -- my mom, my dad, my brother. We need some peace over there."

Venezuela has seen an increase in violence over the last few weeks, as the government has tried to subdue a protest movement. Several Venezuelan players, including Jose Altuve and Marwin Gonzalez, declined to speak publicly about the topic.

Instead, the players and staff members joined with other teams in posing with the Venezuela flag and signs that read "PAZ, TODOS UNIDOS, HERMANDAD" in Spanish in a plea for peace for a nation in crisis. The sign loosely translated in English means "peace, together, brotherhood."

The Astros who posed together included native Venezuelans Altuve, Gonzalez, Jesus Guzman, Izturis, David Martinez, Carlos Perez, Gregario Petit and Ronald Torreyes. Players from other nations, such as Carlos Corporan and Carlos Correa from Puerto Rico, also participated, along with bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte and bullpen assistant Carlos Munoz, both of whom are from Venezuela.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.