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Cubs ’2016 schedule: Go west, young team

If new Cubs manager Joe Maddon thought this year’s schedule was tough with the fluctuating game times and rough turnarounds, wait till he gets a load of next year’s schedule.

The Cubs play a West-heavy schedule in 2016 that opens on the West Coast and includes an August in which all 12 games are in the Pacific or Mountain time zones – including a 10-day, nine-game trip through Colorado, San Diego and Los Angeles (Dodgers).

Maddon at least can pencil in Kyle Schwarber’s position for the season opener: designated hitter.

The Cubs break camp in Arizona and open in Anaheim April 5 to face the Los Angeles Angels in a two-game series, then return to Arizona for four games against the Diamondbacks before their home opener.

The Wrigley Field opener is 7:05 p.m., Monday, April 11, against the Cincinnati Reds.

The annual Cubs-Sox series returns to its 2014 form, with the season series spanning just four days – July 25-26 at U.S. Cellular Field and July 27-28 at Wrigley.

The Cubs host three other interleague series, against the Texas Rangers (three games, July 15-17), Seattle Mariners (three, July 29-31) and Angels (two, Aug. 9-10).

The Cubs travel to Oakland Aug. 5-7 and Houston Sept. 9-11 for six more interleague games.

The tentative schedule was released Tuesday.

All Cubs home games with listed times are scheduled for the usual 7:05 and 1:20 starts.

So far none of Maddon’s dreaded 3:05 p.m. Friday starts have been officially scheduled – though all Friday home dates from May 27 through August are listed as TBD.

The Cubs finish the 2016 season with 16 of their final 26 games on the road, including the final seven, in Pittsbugh (four) and Cincinnati (three) – much like this year’s schedule.