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New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (25) hits a two-run home run against the New York Mets during the third inning at Yankee Stadium.

By Ryan Hatch

TAMPA — Yankees‘ first baseman Mark Teixeira smacked a foul ball off his right leg on August 17 last season and was barely seen again, test results later showing he broke his leg.

It was the fourth season in a row Teixeira failed to play a full season, injuries hampering the second half of his eight-year, $180 million contract he signed with the team in 2009.

But the leg break was a freak injury, Texieira notedWednesday at Yankees camp, and said that if he can play like he did the first 109 games last year, there’s no reason he can’t stay in the league for several more years.

He said he’s fully healthy now, off crutches last October and is running “100-percent.”

“I’d love to play five more years,” Teixeira, 35, said. “I’d love to play until I’m 40…My body feels so good, why not play until I’m 40? Being the kind of hitter I am, I can be a DH the last few years of my career, which could really prolong it. I would love to play that long.”

Where he will be spending those years is uncertain. Teixeira will be a free agent after this season and it’s not likely the team would bring him back, considering 23-year-old Greg Bird is waiting in the wings, despite being sidelined this season with a torn labrum in his back.

Teixeira, though, says he would prefer to stay in New York.

“That’s probably the easiest question you could ask me,” Teixeira, who lives in Connecticut, said about staying in Pinstripes.

Teixeira hit 31 home runs last season and was playing Gold Glove defense before the injury. If he performs like that again, he said, there’s no reason he can’t secure another contract, even if it’s not in New York.

“I think I have a lot of good years left in me especially after last year,” he said. “The great thing about contract years is if you do your job on the field for your team, the contract works out for you.”

Seven years, he said, have gone by in an instant. But coming off another full offseason of training accompanying his “no-fun” diet (gluten-free) he expects himself, along with veteransCarlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez to be productive as they finish up their careers.

“[They] are two of the best players in our generation,” he said. “Those guys have the capability of doing amazing things and I think together we can still do it no matter how old we are.”

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