NEW YORK - Mark Teixeira and Bobby Abreu have plenty in common. Smooth swings, sharp eyes, opposite-field power.
And something else now, too.
As the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels prepare to meet for the American League pennant, both sluggers can easily recall what life was like in the other dugout.
"That team over there, just like us, expects to win every game they play," said Teixeira, who left Los Angeles last offseason for a free-agent contract with the Yankees. "They're so professional. They do everything right. They're meticulous."
And better than ever, perhaps, with Abreu in the lineup.
"It's going to be something. Very interesting," said Abreu, who spent 2 1/2 seasons in New York. "I was there, and it gives you a lot of emotions, but right now I represent the Angels."
After going coast to coast last winter, Teixeira and Abreu enjoyed similar success this season - albeit for disparate dollars.
Several teams offered big-money deals to Teixeira, who signed with New York for $180 million over eight years. Abreu, despite a durable track record of steady production with the Phillies and Yankees, had to wait and wait just to land a job.
Seeking a multiyear deal, he filed for free agency following a solid season with New York. But the economic downturn and a crowded free-agent class left the 35-year-old outfielder with few attractive suitors.
Right before spring training, Abreu joined the Angels on a $5 million, one-year contract that's turned into quite a bargain. He earned an additional $1 million in bonuses for reaching 650 plate appearances.
"I was shocked that Bobby Abreu was available - and I was shocked that we got him for $5 million, too," Angels teammate Torii Hunter said.
What Abreu did was hit .293 with 15 homers, 103 RBIs, 94 walks and 30 stolen bases. He also batted .354 with runners in scoring position and reached 100 RBIs and 30 steals for the fifth time.
In a first-round playoff sweep of Boston, Abreu went 5 for 9 (.556) with two doubles, four walks and four runs scored.
Next up for Abreu, a matchup with his former team in the AL championship series. Game 1 is tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium, with CC Sabathia scheduled to pitch against Angels right-hander John Lackey.
"I don't have to prove anything. I'll spread my wings and do the best for our team," Abreu said. "Both teams are pretty good. Both have the talent to go to the World Series."
Teixeira is a big reason the Yankees feel confident, too.
The switch-hitting first baseman has been everything New York could have hoped for - on offense and defense. He batted .292 and led the AL with 122 RBIs, tying Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena for the home run crown with 39.
Then, in a division series sweep of Minnesota, Teixeira hit a game-winning homer in the 11th inning of Game 2.