TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli engaged with social media to show support for his troubled homeland on Thursday, posting a picture with several teammates pleading for peace in Venezuela.
It has been reported that 16 people have died as protests of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government become increasingly violent. In the photo Cervelli posted to Instagram, he is clutching a corner of Venezuela's flag among hand-written signs reading, "Paz," or peace.
"All of my friends have been doing that on the other teams," Cervelli said. "I think we're not trying to be in politics or whatever, because I don't believe in politics, I just play baseball.
"But I care about my people. My mom and dad are still there, and I'm always praying for them to be safe every day. It's a little message just for peace and no more people dead."
Four other Venezuelan members of the Yankees' roster are in the picture: catcher Francisco Arcia and infielders Jose Gil, Jose Pirela and Yangervis Solarte. Bullpen catcher Roman Rodriguez also took part.
In addition, Yankees stars CC Sabathia and Ichiro Suzuki posed for the photo. Cervelli said that his teammates wanted to show support for the cause.
"Latin people have always been one," Cervelli said. "We are brothers, and everywhere we go, we make noise. We talk loud. That's the way we do things; and the music. We had other guys, [Ichiro] from Japan, [Sabathia] from here.
"I spend more time with these guys than my family, so we are a family. These are the people I have been working [with] for the last four years, so I think everybody feels the same thing."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.