"The release is probably best for all parties involved," said Larry Reynolds, Stewart's representative. "After a lengthy rehab, Ian was starting to get back to playing the way we all had hoped. We will move on and I expect that Ian, with hard work, will find himself back in the big leagues at some point in the near future."
Stewart was slowed this spring by a strained left quad and was outrighted to Iowa after rehab assignment. He hit.168 (19-for-113) with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 40 games before he June 11 suspension.
Stewart, who later posted an apology on his Twitter account, has hit .232 with 59 homers and 204 RBIs over parts of six big league seasons. Chicago signed him to a one-year, $2 million deal.
"The decision was for the two sides to part ways," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "It allows Ian to potentially continue his career somewhere else, and for us, I think it was the right time to go in a different direction."
Hoyer said they saw Stewart as left-handed hitter with power who could play defense and help fill the void at third when they signed him. A wrist injury limited Stewart to 55 games a year ago.
"It didn't work out, and it may work out for him somewhere else in the big leagues," Hoyer said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.