On February 6th – just 15 days away! – the Red Sox equipment truck heads south. And the first rite of spring in Red Sox Nation will be upon us. Before you know it, pitchers and catcher(s)? report, Spring Training, World Baseball Classic and finally Opening Day. And then it’s on. And who will be our catcher?

Heidi Watney reports that Jason Varitek “was not aware that teams would have to surrender a No. 1 draft pick in order to sign him.” I’m not sure which is worse: if he’s just trying to make a lame excuse or if he really “pulled a McNab” and didn’t know how the game he’s played for so long actually works. But with the Dodgers signing Brad Ausmus, Tek’s options got even slimmer. Pretty soon he’ll be paying the Sox to let him play for them.

Dustin Pedroia will be featured on the cover of the video game “MLB 09: The Show.”

Pedroia donned a skintight, high-tech suit dotted with dozens of sensors to have his motions recorded during a session Wednesday at Sony Computer Entertainment America’s San Diego Motion Capture Studio.

“It’s been fun so far,” said Pedroia, who later changed into his gray road Red Sox uniform. “I’ve never seen anything like that. It was pretty cool to put that suit on and kind of move around. I was watching that board back there and everything I do going to the plate, it was like identical. It was kind of weird. So it’s been fun.”

After seeing Pedroia take his shirt off during the charity dance event last year, I’ll pass on seeing the pics of him in a skintight suit. Now if they need to record Heidi’s movements to make her character for the game, I’m there.

Jon Papelbon, the quote machine, strikes again.

“I like rolling the dice a little bit, Tanguay, you should know that,” the All-Star closer told co-host Gary Tanguay when asked if he preferred going year-to-year in contract talks or seeking a multiyear deal during an appearance on Comcast SportsNet that will air at 6:30 p.m., and again later tonight.

Rocco Baldelli took out an ad in the St. Petersburg Times thanking the team and fans for their support. Classy move, he should fit in nicely here.

Red is tucked safely away in his hyperbaric chamber, plotting his next gem.