SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco was just 16 when a group of armed men kidnapped him, holding him at gunpoint for four hours while demanding $1,000 from his mother. For 21-year-old pitching prospect Edwin Escobar, the nightmare scenario played out just a month ago. Escobar's parents were robbed in their own home, and his father needed 15 stitches after being clubbed on the head.

Experiences like those have led the 12 Venezuelan players in Giants camp to join stars from around Major League Baseball in showing their support for protesters in Venezuela. On Sunday, the group held signs in a photo that was posted on Twitter and Instagram; the A's followed suit Monday with a photo that included Americans A.J. Griffin and Dan Otero. The Venezuelans in the Giants clubhouse were also planning a video shoot, hoping to produce a taped message of support.

"What is happening there with the government is not OK, and we don't have to be used to it," Blanco said. "What's happening there, it shouldn't happen. The security is terrible; a robbery there is nothing, everyone has been robbed. There's not enough food or medicine, and the hospitals have gotten really bad. We have to progress and get better as a country.

"The message we're sending is that the Venezuelan people have to be united. We're trying to let the citizens there know that we're with them. Hopefully this gives the people more power."

Venezuelan players around baseball have the same goal. The Detroit Tigers, led by two-time reigning American League MVP Miguel Cabrera, posed for a photo Friday morning, followed shortly by Venezuelan contingents from teams such as the Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins. The trend has swept big league clubhouses, and A's right-hander Fernando Nieve got teammates, including fellow Venezuelans Alberto Callaspo, Jose Flores and Jose Martinez, to join in Monday.

"We know what's happening back home," said Nieve, whose parents still live in the country. "This is a way to stand up with Venezuela."

In their photo, the Giants held up white pieces of paper with varying messages, from "Far but not absent" to "Pray for Venezuela."

"When we come in every morning, that's the only thing we're talking about," catcher Hector Sanchez said. "We update each other on the latest news, watch the latest videos and look at Twitter. It's crazy, and incredibly sad."

Sanchez calls his parents after every workout at Scottsdale Stadium. Blanco races to check in with his 8-year-old son, who lives in Caracas, and has encouraged him not to attend school and stay out of the streets.

Escobar is one of the top left-handed prospects in baseball and might make his MLB debut sometime this season, but he's having a difficult time fully enjoying big league camp. When he returns to the team hotel every afternoon, Escobar checks in with his wife and 3-year-old son in Barquisimeto.

"I'm here trying my best and trying to make the club, but of course you're always worried," he said. "It's a really bad situation. Security there gets worse every day."

Reports out of Venezuela have at least 12 dead during weeks of antigovernment protests. Despite the potential danger for their families, Venezuelan players have shown little reticence while showing their support. Escobar has been active in retweeting videos, and Pablo Sandoval has sent messages to his nearly 100,000 followers.

"I see it this way: When we play here, (the people in Venezuela) give us a lot of support," Cabrera told MLB.com. "Right now, a lot of players give a lot of support to the people of Venezuela."

Several Venezuelans in the Giants clubhouse said the big leaguers are hoping to build a coalition of support throughout MLB. Cabrera, the country's biggest star, is said to be seeking a discussion with embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

"We're with the people," Escobar said. "We're here, but we're with them."

Staff writer John Hickey contributed to this report.