ANAHEIM -- The two-plus seasons Bobby Abreu spent in New York in Yankees pinstripes represented an advanced education in many forms, including Bronx Bombers lore. Abreu became well versed in the history of monumental figures such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
"In my two years and a couple of months there, I got to know how special Lou Gehrig is in the game," Abreu said a few hours before the Angels opened a four-game series against the Athletics. "Any time you do something that puts you in a conversation with him, that's very special. It means a lot to know that you've done something that he did."
It happened on Sunday in classic Abreu fashion, lashing a fastball to right-center against the Braves. When he reached second base, he had tied Gehrig for 32nd all-time in doubles with 534. Among active players, only Todd Helton and Ivan Rodriguez have more.
"I have the ball," Abreu said, grinning. "And I will definitely have the next one, too. Those are ones you keep."
Back to hitting third after 22 games in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, Abreu has begun to drive the ball with force again. The Angels are 14-10 when he bats third, 10-14 when he doesn't. In any event, Abreu has a history of heating up with the weather, something he attributes to growing up in the warmth of his native Venezuela.
"I never feel right when it's cold, and it's been really cold so far this season," he said. "Cold weather is too much. You freeze your hands and it makes you rush. It throws off your mechanics and you get in bad habits. It's not just me. A lot of guys -- like Torii [Hunter] -- are the same way."
Abreu is batting .438 during a five-game hitting streak and had four hits, including his second homer, in nine at-bats in the Interleague series against the Braves. The game's reigning iron man, he has missed only one game and appears a reasonably safe bet to appear in at least 150 games for the 14th consecutive season, which would put him alone at the top. He now shares the record with Willie Mays, Cal Ripken Jr. having had his streak broken by the premature end to the 1994 season.
"Being mentioned with names like Lou Gehrig and Willie Mays," Abreu said, "that makes you feel like you've accomplished some things in this game."