BOSTON — Jacoby Ellsbury is out for at least six weeks. Maybe more.

In the short term, the Red Sox have called up Che-Hsuan Lin to be their fourth outfielder. And Cody Ross has moved to center field.

But another outfielder will be relied on heavily to fill the spark-plug role Ellsbury played for Boston.

Carl Crawford.

Crawford batted a disappointing .255 last season, his first in Boston. He started this year on the disabled list, recovering from wrist surgery, and the team also found about a week ago that he has a strained elbow.

The Sox need Crawford to be what he used to be — a guy who bats .300, gets on base and creates havoc.

There was so much talk last year about Crawford not being comfortable in Boston. I doubt if Crawford would lean on such an excuse.

He better be accustomed to the Red Sox this year and once he rejoins the team — perhaps within a month — Crawford will be counted on heavily to produce.

ELLSBURY SUFFERED a subluxation of the shoulder; also known as a partial dislocation. How “partial” the injury is will determine how much recovery time is needed.

It may need only rest. Or it could be a chronic problem that requires surgery.

Derek Jeter dislocated his shoulder on opening day of the 2003 season. He did not need surgery, missed 36 games, and returned to bat .324.

Giants infielder Freddy Sanchez dislocated his shoulder last June. He required surgery and is still out.

Ellsbury may be relieved that the Red Sox restructured their medical staff before the season. Ellsbury complained that his broken ribs in 2010 were misdiagnosed by team doctors. He twice attempted to return to the lineup, but played a total of just 18 games that season.

CHE-HSUAN LIN is the fourth member of the 2011 Sea Dogs to reach the majors, following Tommy Hottovy, Ryan Lavarnway and Tim Federowicz.

In the microscope that is Boston, much will be made of Lin’s lack of hitting — he has a career .256 minor league average and only three hits this year (although that included a double and home run).

But Lin will win over the Fenway crowd if he gets a chance to show off his speed in the outfield and his arm.

JUAN CARLOS LINARES should be headed to Pawtucket fairly soon (he might replace Lin, but there was no word as of Saturday afternoon).

Linares, 27, began last season in Pawtucket but broke his leg. With the crowded Pawtucket outfield this year, Linares was sent to Portland. He is batting .410 with three home runs.

GOT A KICK out of Josh Beckett bristling at the idea that he’s lost velocity on his fastball.

Beckett, 31, was asked if he is more of a control pitcher now that he isn’t throwing 95 mph fastballs. Beckett said he doesn’t hit 95 “as consistently as I’d like to” but that he expects to get his arm strength back later this year.

If Beckett becomes a better pitcher because he focuses on location instead of the radar gun, he may be better off if his fastball stays at 91.

A LOT OF LAUGHS followed Kelly Shoppach executing a pop-up slide 10 feet in front of second base on a steal attempt Friday. Shoppach got up and made it the rest of the way to second for his first career steal.

Shoppach had never even attempted a stolen base. But the Red Sox called for Shoppach to try a delay steal with a runner on third base.

“We were trying get a run, not a stolen base,” Boston Manager Bobby Valentine said.

Valentine got a chuckle out of Shoppach’s slide.

“We’ll have to get it on the highlight reel,” Valentine said. “That will be good for a rainy day.”

MORE NEWS ON former Sea Dogs: Hottovy was one of the last cuts in the Royals’ spring-training camp and was sent to Triple-A Omaha. The left-handed reliever has made four appearances (one earned run and five strikeouts in four innings).

Catcher George Kottaras is off to a powerful start with the Milwaukee Brewers. In his first five games, Kottaras has four hits — three of them home runs. He’s batting .444.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases