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.
Intrasquad game highlights good day of work
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros moved their spring workouts to the stadium field at Osceola County Stadium, where a team managed by Adam Everett beat a team managed by Morgan Ensberg, 10-4. The hitters were batting against a pitching machine that threw nothing but curveballs.
The teams combined for five home runs -- Carlos Correa, Max Stassi, L.J. Hoes, Jonathan Meyer and Domingo Santana. Correa, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Draft, got a cooler of liquid and ice dumped on his head after the game.
"It was cold," Correa said. "I don't think I need the cold tub anymore after today. You enjoy those kinds of moments -- especially with your teammates. It was fun."
Astros manager Bo Porter was happy with what he saw from his club following a couple of days when he voiced some displeasure about the drills on the back fields.
"Extremely happy about today, the entire day," said Porter. "The work early on in the workout, and I felt like the intrasqaud game was really good because these guys had the opportunity to compete and play the game of baseball."
Because the day was so productive, the players got their work in running the bases earlier in the morning. Strength and conditioning coach Jake Beiting told Porter no post-workout conditioning was needed.
"He said, 'Bo, that's about as good a conditioning as you can get,'" said Porter.
Porter spends day with big man from his past
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros manager Bo Porter spent the day with Al Goldis, the former scout and team executive who helped Porter sign with the Cubs. He was the vice president of scouting and player development with the Cubs when Porter was drafted out of Iowa in 1993.
Goldis, who's now retired, is a member of the Professional Scouts Hall of Fame. He was a scout for the Orioles, Angels, Brewers, Cubs, Reds and Mets. He was also the director of scouting and player development for the White Sox from 1986-90.
"Bo was a great athlete and had the intangibles besides ability -- like makeup, intelligence and passion," Goldis said. "What you see now is what you saw then. That's what the scouts saw. That's what [scout] Eddie Ford saw."
Goldis said it's no surprise to see Porter is one of the youngest managers in baseball.
"You knew with all his qualities, he was going to get better -- because he's going to talk to everyone, the guys that are successful," Goldis said. "He used to ask questions all the time when he was a player, like 'Why do you do this?' I think he prepared himself to be a better person and manager."
Goldis also drafted third-base coach Pat Listach while he was with the Brewers, and bench coach Dave Trembley managed the Daytona Beach Cubs from 2001-02 while Goldis was with the Cubs.