New wrinkles on Blue Jays' 2018 slate

More 4:07 p.m. Saturday afternoon starts; Opening Day is March 29

New wrinkles on Blue Jays' 2018 slate

TORONTO -- Saturday afternoons will look a lot different next season as the Blue Jays have decided to push back the time of first pitch for most of their home games.

Toronto will host nine Saturday afternoon games at 4:07 p.m. ET while four games remain unchanged at 1:07 p.m. Several other changes for the 2018 season include Jr. Jays Saturdays moving to Sunday and a greater number of weekday giveaways than ever before, per the club's announcement.

Blue Jays' 2018 regular-season schedule

The Blue Jays have almost exclusively played their Saturday afternoon games at 1:07 since 2006. They were one of the only teams in baseball with an early start time but rumors surrounding a time change had been floating around for the last several weeks and were officially confirmed when the schedule was released Tuesday afternoon.

Toronto will open the regular season at home for the first time since 2013, on March 29. The Blue Jays will host the Yankees for four games and the White Sox for three before heading to Texas, Baltimore and Cleveland for the first road trip. Toronto also will be at home for Canada Day with a matinee affair vs. the Tigers and on Labor Day with a night game against the Rays.

The Interleague Play schedule will include matchups featuring opponents in the National League East. Toronto will travel to New York for a series against the Mets (May 15-16), Philadelphia (May 25-27) and Miami (Aug. 31 - Sept. 2). The Blue Jays will host the Braves (June 19-20), the Mets (July 3-4) and the Phillies (Aug. 24-26).

Other highlights include the Blue Jays traveling to Seattle for an always popular series against the Mariners from Aug. 2-5. Toronto also will be at home for Mother's Day (May 13 vs. Boston) and Father's Day (June 17 vs. Washington). The regular season will wrap up with 19 games in September against division rivals with the season coming to an end Sept. 28-30 at Tampa Bay.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.