The Cubs were in full-scale freefall during a four-game sweep in Washington one day last September when the media questions dried up and it suddenly occurred to someone to ask manager Dale Sveum about a guy no one had seen in the clubhouse for more than two months.

Hey, what’s the deal with Ian Stewart?

‘‘I think he’s just home, I think,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘I’ve kind of lost track of [him].’’

More than five months later — 14 going back to the day the Cubs traded for him — they’re still trying to answer the same question.

The difference now is Stewart’s in the building. All in, if you ask him.

And in fairness to the burly third baseman, he was hurt back then, coming off season-ending wrist surgery. He also had permission from the front office to rehab at home, where his wife was pregnant with their second child.

Stewart thinks there might have been a ‘‘miscommunication.’’

Some in the organization think it might have been nice if he’d decided to show up maybe once before the season ended.

‘‘I think he could have been around the team a little bit more, yeah,’’ said Sveum, who couldn’t get rid of the rehabbing Matt Garza if he’d wanted to the final two months of the season, ‘‘and I told him that. It’s nothing he doesn’t know. But it wasn’t a major issue by no means.’’

The big thing, as far as the Cubs are concerned, is that Stewart is back now — even if it took re-signing him for $2 million after releasing him over the winter.

The bigger thing, as far as Stewart is concerned, is he’s certain a left wrist injury that continually flared up for more than two years finally was diagnosed correctly through exploratory surgery and repaired.