The Padres get back 'Relevant' Jurickson Profar after clutch hit vs. Dodgers

LOS ANGELES – San Diego Padres outfielder Juricson Profar hit the game-winning home run that led to a series-clinching victory Sunday at Dodger Stadium. That his seventh-inning triple came one day after Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith called him “irrelevant” did not go unnoticed by one of Profar's most prominent teammates.

“Irrelevant? I don't know. You'll have to check the dictionary about that,” Padres third baseman Manny Machado said after San Diego's 6-3 win. “He's been leading this team for a long time. The numbers speak for themselves. Every time he steps out on that field, he has a huge impact on the game. At the end of the day, the boy got 10 years in. There are only a few players in baseball, at all.” Baseball, who achieve this goal, therefore, should put a little respect to his name.

Profar objected to being grounded by a rookie cutter off Dodgers outfielder Gavin Stone in the fifth inning on Saturday, leading to a bench-clearing incident. It was a surprising response for the Dodgers, who noted that they only led by one run and that Stone was pitching a perfect game.

“I don't know why we threw him in. He's kind of irrelevant,” Smith, speaking to AM 570 after Saturday's contest, said of Profar.

A day later, with the score tied at 3 in the seventh inning, Profar responded in the best way possible, coming out with the bases loaded and one out and lining a JP Feyereisen offering off the top of the center field wall.

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Profar, a beloved presence in the clubhouse who was brought back with a $1 million contract during spring training, has a .960 OPS so far.

“I can tell you this: Profar is very important to us,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said. “He's the glue guy for us. The guy's got 10 years in the big leagues. There's a connection there. He did a good job tonight with a triple-double. But beyond that, Bru's a pro. He's a very big part of the San Diego Padres and very close to me.” “I absolutely believe that he is very close to his teammates, so we respect and appreciate him very much.”

While on ESPN's “Sunday Night Baseball,” Profar admitted that Stone wasn't trying to throw and laughed a lot about the incident. After the game, Profar declined to respond to Smith's comments.

“I'm not going to comment on that,” Profar said with a laugh when asked if he felt “relevant to the topic.” “I'll just play, like you did.”

Asked if he had heard about Smith's criticism, Profar said: “Yes, I heard that. But I'm not a media man. I just show up there.”

While Profar tried to defuse the matter, the insult was yet another incident — as minor as it can be — in a nascent rivalry that has seen few tense moments over the past few years.

Machado, who was booed loudly every time he returned to play in Los Angeles, said he didn't pay much attention to it. But he made it clear that he took exception.

He also came up with a new title for Profar: Mr. Related.

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“You've got a guy who's had 10 years in the league, and I think he's a little more important than irrelevant, as well [Smith] “You have to show some respect to some people's names. And I think that's what this game is losing: They're losing respect for some of these guys who have been here too long,” Machado said.

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