BOSTON -- Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss brought lots of joy to Boston Children's Hospital on Monday and left with even more, along with some perspective.
Reddick and Moss, joined by first-base coach Tye Waller, paid a two-hour visit to 11-year-old Aaron Hern, a sixth-grader at Martinez (Calif.) Junior High School, who was seriously injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.
"The kid was really strong," said Reddick. "He had a great morale, and he was just handling everything well. It was good to see that he had that kind of spirit."
Particularly just a week after his life was forever altered.
Hern was in Boston to watch his mother, Katherine, compete in the Marathon, but the celebration quickly took an unimaginable turn upon the detonation of two bombs, the second of which sent shrapnel into his leg. He has had multiple surgeries but is expected to be walking on his own by week's end.
"They say he'll make a full recovery, which is great," Reddick said. "We tried to talk about anything but what happened, just to keep his mind off it, to help focus his day on something else besides being in a hospital and being hurt, getting his mind off those things and putting a smile on his face.
"Every time I do something like that, I feel like it's a great learning opportunity for myself to not take anything for granted in my life and not complain about being injured or whining about the little things."
Though life appeared normal at Fenway Park, where the A's began a three-game set with the Red Sox on Monday, much of the surroundings were anything but, as witnessed by many members of Oakland's traveling party.
"It was a pretty eerie feeling last night driving up, because you look down Boylston [Street] and it's still closed, and you see all the TV trucks and everything still parked in the area," manager Bob Melvin said. "You can only imagine what it was like during that time.
"But that's the great thing about baseball and sports. We're able to provide some entertainment for two or three hours, and you have to feel good about that, but our hearts go out to everyone that had to deal with what went on here."
"It's a wakeup call," added Reddick. "Driving by the site where it all went down, it kind of makes your heart sink a bit."
Yet from tragedy comes healing, and Reddick and Moss hope they did their best to help Hern with that process.
"To see his face light up that soon and to see him doing so well so soon after an explosion like that is unreal," Reddick said. "I thought I got more out of it than him. I'm just so grateful for everything in this life. He really put that into perspective for us today."