APNewsBreak: Braves set to open ballpark April 13 vs Padres
NEW YORK (AP) The Atlanta Braves are scheduled to open SunTrust Park on April 13 against the San Diego Padres, according to a copy of the team's preliminary schedule obtained by The Associated Press.
The 2017 schedule, which is tentative and subject to change, has the Braves opening the season with a three-game series at the New York Mets on April 3, then going to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a three-game series. Atlanta also has a two-game series at the Miami Marlins before heading home for the Thursday opener against the Padres, the start of a four-game series.
Teams opening new ballparks often host exhibition games at the new stadiums before opening day, and it is possible the Braves could schedule some at SunTrust ahead of the regular season.
Braves officials declined comment on the schedule, since it is not yet official.
''It might be more real when the year is over and you start to look forward to everything and start processing things for the new year. You get going and get excited to start a new year.'' Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said Wednesday.
Atlanta is in its 20th and final season at Turner Field, which was built for the 1996 Olympics and then converted for baseball use. Plans for the new ballpark, in a northwest suburb, were announced in November 2013.
''I've only been by it once,'' Snitker said. ''I think we're all caught up into what we're doing right now.''
San Diego also opened the New York Mets' Citi Field in 2009. The last big league ballpark to open was Miami's Marlins Park in 2012.
''I think it might be cold. It can be a little chilly,'' said Padres outfielder Melvin Upton Jr., who played for the Braves in 2013-14. ''I heard it's going to be definitely top of the line. So good for them, man.''
Major League Baseball usually releases its preliminary schedule in September. Changes are regularly made, some because of national television selections, and a schedule with game times is announced in January.
AP Sports Writers Charles Odum in Atlanta and Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this report.