Friars to head out on road to open 2010

Friars to head out on road to open 2010

SAN DIEGO -- For the first time since 2007, the Padres will begin on the road next season when they open on April 5 against the D-backs in Phoenix.

San Diego will play three games in Arizona and three in Colorado before returning for its home opener against Atlanta on April 12 at PETCO Park.

That series against the Braves will kick off a nine-game homestand.

The Padres will be paired up to some extent with the American League East Division in Interleague Play, as Toronto (June 14-16) and Baltimore (June 18-20) come to PETCO Park.

This will be the first time since 2004 that the Padres have faced the Blue Jays. They were 1-2 against Toronto that season at PETCO Park.

San Diego faced the Orioles in 2007.

The Padres will also make Interleague trips to Seattle (May 21-23) and Tampa Bay (June 22-24) next season.

The Friars have played the Mariners in every year of Interleague Play since 1997.

San Diego will close the 2010 regular season on the road, playing three games against the Giants at AT&T Park on Oct. 1-3.

While game times have yet to be announced, the Padres, in a shift from what the team previously offered, will begin Saturday night games at 5:35 p.m. PT and their weekday games at 3:35 p.m.

Previously, Saturday night games have started at 7:05 p.m. with weekday games at 12:35 p.m. The Padres had eight weekday games this season, and that number does not figure to change in 2010.

"There are a lot of reasons to do it," San Diego president and COO Tom Garfinkel said Wednesday. "It creates a lot more options and opportunities for fans."

Garfinkel said an earlier start time Saturday night gives fans an opportunity to not only get home earlier, but a chance to go out after a game, whether that be at events held at PETCO Park or nearby in downtown.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.