ARLINGTON, Texas -- Twins first baseman Justin Morneau missed his third straight game Thursday and returned to Minnesota to be examined by a specialist for an inner ear infection.
Morneau has experienced dizziness from the ear problem since last weekend. He is scheduled to see an ear, nose and throat doctor Friday.
The three-time All-Star and 2006 AL MVP has shown little improvement this week despite being examined by team trainers and general practitioners and taking medication. Morneau said he feels better in the mornings, but the dizziness returns later in the day.
"They keep saying it should go away eventually, but I'd like it to go away quicker than it has, so it's time to see a specialist," Morneau said.
Morneau, hitting .298 with 28 home runs and an AL-high 94 RBIs, started the series opener Monday in Texas. But he left that game in the fourth inning and hasn't been in the lineup since.
"It's frustrating, that's all," said Morneau, who had to watch from the dugout as the Twins completed comeback wins Tuesday and Wednesday. "We're winning, that makes it easier. But you want to be out there."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire agreed it was time to get a better read on how much longer his slugger will be out.
"He feels good, then starts moving around and feels bad again," Gardenhire said. "He takes the medicine and he's supposed to feel better in 24 hours. But it's the same. Now we go to the next level and see."
Gardenhire said any talk of placing Morneau on the disabled list is premature until after the doctor visit.