MLB to start 2018 season in March with full slate of games

Major League Baseball unveiled its 2018 schedule, with a full slate of games scheduled to take place on Opening Day on March 29 -- the earliest starting date in the sport's history, excluding international openers.

It will be the first time since the 1968 season -- the last year before the American and National Leagues split into divisions -- that every team will play on Opening Day.

As part of the sport's new labor contract, each team's 162 games were scheduled over 186 days, up from 183. The tentative schedule adds four off days for every team.

Only one game -- the St. Louis Cardinals at the Chicago Cubs -- will be played on the Thursday after the All-Star Game, which will be held in Washington on Tuesday, July 17.

This will be just the 12th season to start on a Thursday following 1901-04, 1907, 1912, 1959, 1973-74, 1976 and 2011.

There will be rivalries among the opening matchups, including the San Francisco Giants visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros at the Texas Rangers.

Previously, the earliest start except for international games was March 30 in 2003, 2008 and 2014. There will be an international game after Opening Day, however, as the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians will play a two-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on April 17-18.

The regular season is scheduled to end Sunday, Sept. 30.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.