SAN DIEGO -- The 2010 Major League schedule is still a few weeks away from being released, though the Padres are moving ahead with several significant time changes for weekday day games and Saturday night games.

In a shift from what the team previously offered, the Padres will begin Saturday night games at 5:35 p.m. PT and their weekday day games at 3:35 p.m.

Previously, Saturday night games have started at 7:05 p.m. with weekday day games at 12:35 p.m. The Padres had eight weekday day games this season, and that number does not figure to change in 2010.

"There are a lot of reasons to do it," San Diego president and COO Tom Garfinkel said Wednesday. "It creates a lot more options and opportunities for fans."

Garfinkel said an earlier start time Saturday night gives fans an opportunity to not only get home earlier, but a chance to go out after a game, whether that be at events held at PETCO Park or nearby in downtown.

In Arizona, where Garfinkel and vice chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad were before with the D-backs, the earlier start actually helped with Sunday attendance, especially with fans who attended Saturday's game, as they didn't have to feel like they were choosing between going to either Saturday or Sunday's game.

As for the weekday day games, the later start, Garfinkel said, will potentially "make it more likely to play hooky from work at 3:35 p.m. than 12:35 p.m."

"This is an exciting thing for us," Garfinkel said.