SAN DIEGO – After a long winter lockout, baseball returns to Petco Park this week — even if it will be a while until the Padres actually do.

On Thursday, the club hosts its 2022 FanFest: Road Opener Watch Party starting at 5 p.m. at the downtown ballpark. Fans are invited to watch their beloved Friars take on the Arizona Diamondbacks on the road for Opening Day with the game playing live on the stadium’s videoboard and in Gallagher Square.

Admission to FanFest is free and visitors are able to secure up to six complimentary tickets to the event. You can claim yours by clicking or tapping here or through the MLB Ballpark app.

Parking will be available for free in team-owned lots such as Premier Lot, Tailgate Lot and Padres Parkade, the team said. Lots open at 4:30 p.m.

Here’s what to expect at this year’s FanFest:

  • A Q&A panel featuring Padres alumni is planned on the Sycuan Stage in Gallagher Square starts at 5:40 p.m.;
  • Padres Hall of Famers Trevor Hoffman and Randy Jones will hold a short clinic at the Play Ball Field at 6 p.m.;
  • Kids will be able to run the bases and all attendees can play catch in right field and take photos robbing home runs at the left field wall;
  • Fans can play the new “MLB: The Show” video game in the Rocket League Gameport and the Entertainment Suite in the Padres New Era Team Store; and
  • The Padres Foundation Garage Sale also will take place in Padres Power Alley with all proceeds benefitting the foundation’s charity efforts.

Additionally, concessions will be available for the duration of the event and team gear will be on sale by vendors throughout the ballpark.

First pitch in Thursday’s game is slated for 6:40 p.m. Padres ace Yu Darvish is on the bump against lefty Madison Bumgarner at Arizona’s Chase Field. It opens up the first of a four-game series against the Diamondbacks, which concludes Sunday before the team continues on to San Francisco for three games against the Giants.

The Padres return to Petco Park for the club’s home opener April 14 against the defending-World Series champion Atlanta Braves.