Halos' 2011 slate features early start, NL East

Halos' 2011 slate features early start, NL East

The Angels will open the 2011 season earlier than usual, on Thursday, March 31, at Kansas City with the first of four games against the Royals, according to the schedule released Tuesday by Major League Baseball.

The season also will end earlier, with a three-game series against American League West rival Texas wrapping up on Sept. 28 at Angel Stadium.

The Angels' home opener arrives on April 8 against the Blue Jays. Toronto will be followed into Angel Stadium by the Indians.

Interleague Play in 2011 for manager Mike Scioscia's team will feature National League East clubs. The Angels initiate the action, hosting the Braves in a three-game series starting on May 20.

A 12-game trip in June will include nine Interleague games, starting with a three-game series against the Mets in New York that begins on June 17, offering the Angels their first look Citi Field. They will move south to Florida for three games and then face their traditional rivals, the Dodgers, at Dodger Stadium starting on June 24.

The Nationals will visit Angel Stadium on June 27 for three games before the Dodgers conclude Interleague Play with the Angels at Angel Stadium in a three-game set July 1-3.

The Red Sox make their only visit to Angel Stadium for four games from April 21-24. The Yankees will be in Anaheim twice -- June 3-5 and Sept. 9-11.

The earlier start and conclusion to the regular season is motivated by the effort to enable Major League Baseball to open postseason play on earlier dates and wrap up the World Series in October.

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