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Yankees-Rangers Preview

At the age of 25, Alex Rodriguez arrived in Texas in 2001 a celebrated star after being rewarded with the then-most lucrative contract in sports history.

Rodriguez later claimed the pressure of living up to the deal, his young age and extremely naive nature led to him taking banned substances during his three seasons with the Rangers before further tarnishing his legacy with more steroid use with the New York Yankees.

He'll turn 40 on Monday night in Arlington as more the villain who has spun last year's season-long suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs into motivation for his resurgence in 2015.

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Rodriguez's 10-year, $252 million contract was a hefty price to pay, even for a player who won the AL batting title at 21 and was coming off three straight 40-homer seasons. He hit 156 of his now 677 career home runs and won his first of three MVPs in 2003 with the Rangers - all while taking PEDs - before being traded to New York in 2004.

He apologized for his use during that period but has only shown remorse for his latest transgressions through a handwritten letter "mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season." Rodriguez has fought off public barbs and a battle with the team over milestone bonus money to help the Yankees (55-42) lead the AL East.

The fact he's turning 40 isn't affecting him much, either. Rodriguez hit three homers in Saturday's 8-5 win over Minnesota before getting the day off for Sunday's 7-2 win that marked the Yankees' 11th victory in 14 games.

"I think all of (the reflection over getting older) happened for me last year," said Rodriguez, who has 23 homers and ranks among the majors' leaders with a .914 OPS. "It was a good time for me to pause and just get a full understanding of making smart choices and surrounding myself with good people, and really appreciating everything that baseball and life has to offer."

This will be Rodriguez's first game in Arlington in more than three years. He went 4 for 11 as the Rangers (48-49) swept the Yankees in a three-game series from May 22-24 in the Bronx.

Rodriguez is 5 for 12 with two doubles in his career off Matt Harrison, who takes the mound for Texas looking to build on a solid outing.

Harrison (1-1, 5.40 ERA) hadn't pitched in the majors in nearly 14 months because of back surgery when gave up six runs in four innings of a 7-4 loss to Arizona on July 8. He was much better Tuesday, scattering seven hits in six innings of a 9-0 win over Colorado.

''The first time I stepped on the mound it was an accomplishment,'' said Harrison, who made only six starts combined in 2013 and '14. ''(Tuesday) was a confidence booster, but also showed I can still pitch here.''

The left-hander won 32 games from 2011-12, going 1-2 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts against the Yankees during that stretch. He'll look to help Texas bounce back after it had a four-game winning streak snapped with Sunday's 13-7 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Ivan Nova (2-3, 3.34) knows what it's like to come back from a major injury. He tossed 94 pitches while giving up two runs in six innings of Wednesday's 4-3 win over Baltimore, his most in five starts since returning from Tommy John surgery June 24.

"I was focused on making one pitch at a time," Nova said. "I got my defense to help."

The right-hander last faced the Rangers on July 22, 2013, when he allowed three runs in seven innings of a 3-0 loss.

Josh Hamilton is 6 for 10 with three doubles lifetime off Nova.