New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles line up for...

New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles line up for opening day ceremonies at the start of the Yankees home opener at Yankee Stadium on the afternoon of March 28, 2019. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Major League Baseball has yet to figure out how many games might be played this season in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, if any.

At least now we know which ones won’t be.

Rob Manfred finally made that concession Monday when he informed all 30 teams that it was time to publicly release their ticket-refund policies, with the first five weeks of the season nearly kaput. That’s roughly 400-something games, about 17% of the 2020 schedule, so we’re talking a sizable chunk of cash.

For the commissioner, it also means admitting that the calendar is gradually requiring major decisions to be made. Up until this point, MLB’s stance was to have the individual clubs wait on ticket-related actions because of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. Just consider the games postponed, as you can see clearly marked on every team’s website, and punt the refund issue to a later date.

Well, that later date arrived this week, and not a minute too soon, with growing fan unrest and even a lawsuit filed against all 30 MLB teams over all of that frozen money.

This part was a no-brainer. It’s been obvious for a while that Opening Day Mets-Nationals isn’t going to be made up at Citi Field in 2020. Or any April game in the Bronx, either. For some strange reason, however, you can still buy a ticket for a May 22 game, when the Mariners visit the Yankees, despite the zero chance of that actually happening.

In fact, the entire MLB schedule, in its current format, all the way through September, is likely to be scrubbed, only because the odds of every ballpark being opened up at some point this summer — even without fans — are infinitesimal.

Still, that doesn’t mean MLB can’t dream of such a scenario, and USA Today reported Tuesday that yet another plan is being discussed, this most recent one involving the 30 teams split into three divisions, by region, and an Opening Day scheduled for late June.

The East would include  the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Nationals, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Blue Jays, Rays and Marlins.

The West would be made up of the Dodgers, Angels, Giants, A’s, Padres, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Rangers, Astros and Mariners.

The Central features the Cubs, White Sox, Brewers, Cardinals, Royals, Reds, Indians, Twins, Braves and Tigers.

As of now, the remainder of MLB’s current schedule (after April) remains intact. Why? Mainly because MLB doesn’t know what to do with it yet. While Manfred has taken a more optimistic stance lately on baseball being played in 2020, the commissioner doesn’t have a solid grip on when and where that may happen despite the many contingency plans being discussed.

It’s possible that MLB could choose to pick up the regularly scheduled games on the date they resume, maybe at the start of July, but play them at neutral sites, either in Arizona, Florida, Texas or other venues in the safest cities. If the season is going to be only 80 to 100 games, however, it seems more feasible to rip up the whole thing and map out a new schedule, for balance and competitive purposes, as the USA Today scenario suggests.

Either way, getting fans in the building appears to be a no-go, barring some big medical breakthroughs in the COVID-19 fight. MLB hasn’t totally given up on that front, based on  its thought of perhaps using its stadiums in mild-outbreak regions, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top doc on infectious diseases, has even raised the idea — with proper physical distancing, of course.

Still, baseball can’t happen without better testing and improved monitoring protocols, and the U.S. has tragically lagged in those areas. That’s not to say we can’t make those advances, but it’s been sluggish so far, and it’s not as if MLB has the ability to wait around indefinitely on the 2020 season.

Right now, league officials see some states easing their stay-at-home orders and believe that  baseball eventually will be played if this progress continues. That’s why the next few weeks are crucial. Either these “openings” work and the virus is contained to an acceptable level, or people have miscalculated and new hot spots will emerge. By mid-May, we should get a better read of which course we’re on, and then MLB can decide if it’s ready to mobilize for a second spring training.

Beyond that, choosing venues will be tricky. If MLB does think the three regional divisions are possible, playing in their home ballparks, the CDC will have to allow for gatherings of 50 or more people — even without fans — and that could be a dangerous reach for some cities.

But that’s a conversation MLB would much rather be having instead of talking about giving back money.