PHOENIX — Like many athletes, JC Boscan has a routine he follows each day.
"When I wake up," the Dodgers catching prospect said, "the first thing I do is check my cell phone."
The habit is all about family. While Boscan is in Arizona battling long odds to make the Dodgers major league roster, dozens of his relatives are in Venezuela, where a far more important fight is taking place.
Over the last month, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to demonstrate against the government of President
Though they are thousands of miles removed from the violence, it has been cause for concern in every big league training camp.
"I love my country, and it's sad to see my brothers and my sisters killing each other," said
Those thoughts inspired dozens of Venezuelans, from two-time
"We do really care about our country," Torrealba said. "If you have a problem with the government, try to work it out instead of taking to the streets."
The crisis has helped unite Venezuelan players, some who had previously been divided by politics.
"Absolutely," said Dodgers infielder Miguel Rojas, who sought out
Amarista's situation is less complicated than those of non-roster players such as Boscan and Rojas. Amarista is all but certain of making the big league team this spring, so he will earn at least the
"It's a very difficult time in Venezuela, and nobody knows what's going to happen," said Boscan who, like Rojas, left a large extended family behind. "At the moment my family is fine. They don't go into the streets much because it's really dangerous in the streets.
"Everywhere there's problems."
Boscan is from Maracaibo, Venezuela's second-largest city, and he has been struggling to concentrate on baseball.
"Because I don't know what's happening it's a little difficult," he said. "But when I'm on the field, I don't think about that. It's worrying, but you can't keep that in your mind because at that moment my priority is my work."