ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Alex Rodriguez says there is a certain amount of pride being 40 years old and still playing the major leagues.

A-Rod marked his 40th birthday Monday night in the New York Yankees' series opener at the Texas Rangers, the team that gave him his first huge contract.

Rodriguez says there was a time when hitting home runs and being a great player were all that mattered, and that the more homers he hit ''would justify for whatever behavior'' he had off the field. He didn't specifically mention his season-long suspension last year for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract.

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He says this year has been a nice reminder that good things can happen playing clean and working hard.