JUPITER, Fla. -- The threat of violence in Venezuela led to Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez bringing his wife and two-month-old daughter to South Florida on Thursday night.
A Venezuelan native, Alvarez initially was planning on having his family join him later in Spring Training. But he worked it out where they could leave the country early, due to two incidents where his family was impacted by tear gas.
At Marlins camp on Saturday morning, Alvarez, accompanied by several teammates, posed for pictures while holding the Venezuelan flag. Several players held up handwritten signs with the word "Paz" ("peace" in Spanish).
"With the picture, I'm hoping to send a message to Venezuela to have peace," Alvarez said. "To leave the violence behind."
Alvarez is from Valencia, and his other family members there are fine.
"My daughter is the one who was affected. She was affected by tear gas -- twice -- so I sent for her," Alvarez said. "I sent for her and my wife to go to Miami."
The message the Marlins sent is similar to what the Tigers did on Friday. Detroit players, including Venezuelan natives Miguel Cabrera and Anibal Sanchez, also took pictures holding their country's flag as a sign of solidarity.
With the popularity of baseball in Venezuela, Alvarez is hopeful that the big leaguers' plea for peace can help end the violence in the country.
"As baseball players, our message has more of a potential to [reach people]," Alvarez said. "Detroit sent out a picture [on Friday]."
Not just Venezuelan players posed in the Marlins' picture.