CHICAGO -- For the second consecutive year, the Twins will start the season on the road in 2011. According to the Major League Baseball schedule released on Tuesday, the Twins will begin the season with a seven-game road trip against the American League East, including Opening Night on Friday, April 1, vs. the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The 2011 MLB season schedule is slightly different than in years past, as it will kick off on Thursday, March 31, with some teams, including the Twins, starting on Friday, rather than the traditional Sunday and Monday schedule. It's an effort to have the regular season end earlier and to move up baseball's postseason schedule.

The Twins will begin their season in Toronto for the first time since 2006. The season opener will be followed by two more games with the Blue Jays on April 2-3. From there, the Twins travel to New York for a four-game series (April 4-7).

Minnesota's second home season at Target Field will kick off on Friday, April 8, when the Twins host the A's in a 3:10 p.m. CT contest. It's part of a six-game homestand that will also bring the Royals to town.

Highlights of next year's schedule include a three-game series against the Red Sox (August 8-10), a four-game series against the New York Yankees (August 18-21) and a Independence Day weekend homestand against the Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays.

The Twins' Interleague Play portion of the schedule will feature visits by the Padres (June 17-19), Dodgers (June 28-30) and Brewers (July 1-3).

As far as Interleague travel is concerned, the Twins will head to Arizona to take on the D-backs (May 20-22). The club will also make its first trip to the Giants' AT&T Park since 2003 (June 21-23). The schedule will also include a weekend series at Miller Park against the Brewers (June 24-26).

While the Twins are on the road in April for 17 of their 28 games, the club will have the benefit of home-field advantage at the end of the season, as they are set to finish the 2011 campaign with 12 of their final 20 games at home. That includes a three-game series against the Royals at Target Field (Sept. 26-28) to close out the regular season.